Womensvolleyball preview

The women’s volleyball team is by far one of the most fun on campus. Over the past few years they’ve had great chemistry and a great group of people. So when a crop of new players comes in, Head Coach Kevin Boyles pays special attention to that chemistry.

Well, the early reviews are in-good work Kevin.

The Dinos welcome a trio of rookies to the University of Calgary this year as well as a pair of transfer players. The team that finished fourth in the nation last season and took home silver in 2002 had a few holes to fill as a number of key veterans were injured, graduated or not returning.

Paramount among the positions needing to be addressed was that of middle blocker, where Reid Brodie and Sarah Onofrychuk are set to take the reins from the graduated Tracy Keats and the injured Jill Friend. While both Brodie and Onofrychuk are capable of stepping into starting roles, the issue of depth needed to be addressed. This is where Brodie’s former teammate, Robyn Horner, comes in.

Horner, a fourth-year middle transferring from the University College of the Caribou in Kamloops, British Columbia, credits her decision to move to Calgary in large part to Brodie’s rave reviews.

"I just heard tremendous things about the team and the school," Horner explained. "Every time Reid would phone home that’s what she’d talk about, how fabulous Kevin was and the rest of girls."

The rave reviews of Boyles and the staff he’s assembled were consistent among each of the new recruits, as was the caliber of character among the women already on the roster.

"The fact that everyone gets along so well is amazing," explained Christie James, a first-year right side/middle out of Western Canada High School in Calgary. "Coming in as a rookie, I’ve heard stories about older girls feeling threatened because they see us as coming after their positions. But every girl on the team has been so supportive, it’s great."

Fellow rookie Brittany Hutton, a graduate of Hunting Hills High School in Red Deer, echoes James’ praise of the Dinos veterans.

"The girls on the team are self-motivated, it comes from within, and that drives everyone around them," Hutton enthused.

The lone recruit from outside Western Canada, Waterloo, Ontario native Julie Fiorelli, had a slightly different reason than the other women in choosing the Dinos program. The rookie libero looked beyond the court and into the classroom when it came down to the final analysis.

"I was in Calgary for junior nationals and I fell in love with the school," Fiorelli explained. "I looked at my decision from more of a Kinesiology aspect, and once I got in touch with the coach I knew this is where I wanted to come."

While many of the first-year players boast a desire to win it all right out of the gate, there isn’t the same urgency as veterans in their final few years of eligibility. The rookies are, in many ways, happy to be here. The story is entirely different when it comes to third-year Red Deer College transfer Neda Boroumand.

"To win," the libero replied bluntly when asked why she chose the U of C over all other schools. "That’s why I came to this program, because the team has the potential and the coaching to win a national championship, not to mention the chemistry. Right from day one, everyone got along, which will make it that much easier for our team to succeed."

Her desire to take home a national title, something that has been so painfully elusive for many of the squad’s veterans, was echoed by all her fellow newcomers. But a simple look into her eyes, and the eyes of Horner, showed there was a more fierce and urgent devotion to the cause. In their eyes, and the eyes of their more experienced teammates, it’s now or never.

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