Going out in style

By Lawrence Bailey

With the crowd on its feet and applause ringing in their ears, Amanda Moppett and Jill Friend played their last home matches in style, closing out a weekend sweep over the University of Winnipeg Wesmen Feb. 20-21.

“It was perfect, I couldn’t have asked for anything better,” said Moppett, who has started all 127 matches the Dinos have played in her five years with the team. “The last minute, the standing ovation–it was unbelievable.”

While the real matter at hand was the first round of the Canada West women’s volleyball playoffs, everyone came out to see the two fifth-year Dinos off. The duo did not disappoint, leading the way as the volleysaurs swept the Wesmen Friday (25-17, 25-21, 25-19) and Saturday (25-19, 26-24, 25-19).

“I couldn’t sleep until 5:30 this morning,” said an emotional Friend following Saturday’s contest. “I’m proud of myself, though. I thought by point 23 I’d have tears coming down my face, but I held it together.”

On the court, the Dinos turned in two of their finest performances of the year, finally looking like a team that knew they were the best in the country.

“It showed us we can score when we really need to,” explained Head Coach Kevin Boyles. “That’s a skill and an attitude we really need headed into Final Four and nationals.”

The Dinos will be in tough Feb. 27-28 in Edmonton, as they join the second-, fourth- and fifth-ranked teams in the country in a battle for the title of Canada West champion and, more importantly, three berths at the national championships in Saskatoon Mar. 4-7.

“We’re facing the top four teams in the country, it’s not going to be easy,” conceded Boyles. “We need to take confidence from this weekend, get the first win and then focus on winning another Canada West title.”

Despite the challenge, Boyles’ team is a confident bunch, especially Moppett, the squad’s captain.

“In the past I think we’ve peaked too early, but this team is great. Not one or two players, but the whole team is awesome,” she smiled. “We’ve had great teams, but we’ve never had a team this tight.

“I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls–I wouldn’t add or take away a single person.”