Torn between two nations:

By Daorcey Le Bray

The University of Calgary has proudly added a southern import to this year’s women’s volleyball squad. Well… sort of. Krista Kinsmann, a Calgary native, recently returned home after completing a degree in Education and four years playing National Collegiate Athletic Association volleyball at Oregon State University.

News of her arrival at the U of C made second-year head coach for the women’s team Kevin Boyles jump at the opportunity to add Kinsmann’s name to his roster.

"She’s an outstanding athlete with lots of experience… at the [NCAA] level … obviously we pursued her," said Boyles.

Kinsmann was all smiles during an interview at afternoon practice. However, this six-foot-one athlete has a right to be jovial. Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union regulations allow her to play two more seasons with the Dinos. This would have been her final season in the U.S. She enjoys living at home with her family and is very excited to watch her younger sister play basketball for Mount Royal College (recent national champions). Playing in the CIAU will also present her with a schedule that will allow her to try for a position on the Canadian national team–a personal goal for her.

Kinsmann’s athletic inspirations ironically began with a goal to become an Olympic downhill skier.

"But then I took up volleyball," she said. "I just started playing in every league I possibly could."

She began with club ball at the end of junior high and quickly became involved with the Alberta provincial team and on her school team at Calgary’s William Aberhart High School.

As soon as Kinsmann graduated, she was recruited by Oregon State and promptly achieved their Rookie of the Year award.

Her decision to move to a post-secondary institution in the States had little to do with better athletic or academic programs, but with simple economics.

"I could get a degree and play on a good volleyball team for nothing," said Kinsmann.

Oregon paid for her tuition, a bill that Canadian institutions won’t foot.

Of course, there are potential problems with the addition of a player that was immersed in the American system of volleyball. Historically, the NCAA reluctantly accepts new international rules. They still refuse to incorporate the relatively new rally-point system, whereas the CIAU has been using the format since it was internationally introduced three years ago.

Both Boyles and Kinsmann prefer to see the difference as a minor challenge.

"It will be an adjustment for her with shorter games and more pressure from the first point," said Boyles. "But we do have the first two or three months of the season for her to ease into it."

Due to an interesting regulation, a player acquired from one North American university cannot play for their new university during the next regular season. This means Kinsmann will not hit the court for the Dinos until the beginning of November when the NCAA concludes its season.

Boyles views this as a strategic bonus.

"With everything we have done up to that point, Krista will be a shot in the arm to help us through the rest of the season," he elaborated. "It’ll be an extra boost that we know we will be a better team for the second half [of the season]."

Krista Kinsmann comes with welcome experience to this year’s Dinos. She is driven by a desire to see volleyball playoffs for the first time in her career. That was not easily attainable while playing such formidable teams such as Harvard and UCLA in the US Such passion could be what the Dinos are looking for to allow them to see the post-season which they narrowly missed last year. The goal she set for herself is to feed her strength and performance which should make her a player to watch in the upcoming volleyball season.

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