Men’s V-ball – Randy Lewis
With Bill Byma and Denis Zhukov, the Dinos possessed one of the deadliest one-two punches in the country. Surrounding the all-stars was a supporting cast that had no detectable flaws. In each of the individual statistical categories for the Canada West conference, the Dinos had at least one, if not two members in the top 10. Jon Walsh and Wes Montgomery were steady in the middle, especially in the second half when setter Lee Czernick became more comfortable setting them frequently. Liberos Scott Lahey and Cory Paddock provided stellar defensive play in the back row while Mark Ellingson contributed his share of timely digs and kills as well as the occasional service ace.
Team letdowns became common throughout the second half of the season, which may have cost them the conference, and possibly the National title. Straying from the game plan late in sets was a familiar theme and many winnable matches were lost as a result. However, to the Dinos’ credit, they never really slumped throughout the season and they followed up weak outings with strong ones to remain one of Canada’s elite volleyball teams.
Head Coach Greg Ryan and his staff proved to be extremely valuable as the Dinos welcomed three new starters onto the court including a setter who never played at the university level before. The transition from last year to this year appeared seamless and a lot of credit for this has to go to the coaches.
Taking a glance at the Dinos’ accomplishments over the past six months, it is apparent they played extremely well in 2000/2001. In October, they won their first Husky Dino Cup since 1998, and followed that up with a second-place finish in the extremely difficult Canada West Conference. The Dinos then went to Nationals and were one win away from the gold medal match, but eventually settled for a hard-fought and well-earned bronze.
This year’s edition of the Dinos struggled at times but deserved all of their successes. They never dropped from the top five in the national rankings because of their talent, their coaching, their hours upon hours of hard work and their heart and devotion to the sport they love. With a solid foundation of Czernick and Zhukov returning next season, the Dinos are already poised to make another run at that elusive National Championship.
Song they remind me of: "Doin’ Time" by Sublime. The livin’s easy when you watch these guys play.
Women’s V-ball – Daorcey Le Bray
There’s no disputing the dazzling ability of this year’s lady Dinos. With Head Coach Kevin Boyles (named Canada West Coach of the Year), Alisa Marriott (who garnered CIAU Player of the Year honours) and the powerful duo of All-Stars Krista Kinsman and Amanda Moppett, good things were bound to happen. And if that wasn’t enough, an incredibly deep bench allowed coach Boyles to substitute with ease. Simply amazing.
He turned a team around in two short years, has a desire to win and nationally recognized skill. Coach Boyles kicks butt.
The gals from Calgary wanted to win the whole way through. As their 20-2 record can attest, they won all year long which led to the best showing for the team in years. "Giving it all they could," may be a bit of an overstatement (never mind a cliché) because one wonders how much preparation went into the crushing defeat at the hands of the lower-seeded University of Toronto at the National finals which left the Dinos in a sore sixth position once the smoke cleared.
Hot-diggity, the Jack Simpson fans sure got what they came for during the regular season. The team was always brimming with energy and emotion and lit the court with every stuffing block and attack. Crowds roared for good reason with this year’s Dinos. They were a confident and shining quad and they exceeded everyone’s expectations by winning the Canada West Conference and making it to Nationals.
This isn’t gratuitous marking–the Dinos deserve it. A solid showing throughout the year made this team a favourite to win big. Don’t let a little defeat at Nationals overshadow the potential of this team. They’ll be back next year in full form.
The song they remind me of: "Under Pressure" by David Bowie and Queen. How can you go wrong with a bit of Bowie? The Dinos dominated the Canada West and moved east with the force of a tsunami. But being pegged to win the top spot in the nation is a hard thing to live up to at any time. The fans, families and critics had expectations that were probably a dominant factor as the Dinos faltered when it counted most.