“So, how was the weekend?”
Before they can formulate a verbal response, they say more than enough. Their eyes shine and the corners of their mouths turn upwards into coy, knowing grins. They know how good they are. They know how great they can be.
The Dinos women’s volleyball team served notice Sept. 26-28 at the Cougar Invitational in Regina. They let it be known they are the team to beat. Facing the best of the best at the Canada West tournament, the Dinos put up a perfect 5-0 record, dropping only four games.
The competition was stiff, as they took on perennial national powerhouses like the University of Manitoba Bisons and the University of Alberta Pandas, as well as last year’s surprise national silver medalists, the University of Winnipeg Wesmen.
"I said I came here to win and we sure did that this weekend," exclaimed a jubilant Neda Boroumand, a libero playing her first year as a Dino after transferring from Red Deer College. "Now we know we’re good and we know what to work on to be better."
Fellow transfer, middle Robyn Horner, also got a lot of playing time over the weekend as Reid Brodie was sitting out nursing an injury.
"It was huge, it allowed me to prove myself," Horner explained.
While the results seemed to leave little room for improvement, consensus is the Dinos need to bone up on their blocking before kicking off the season later this month.
"We’ve got technical work to do, especially on our blocking, but I’m really happy with the way we’re playing as a team," said a proud Head Coach Kevin Boyles. "We’re way deeper than I thought we’d be, the young girls were another nice surprise. Everyone who came off the bench made an immediate positive impact."
Boyles’ praise regarding the talent and toughness of the trio of rookies was echoed by the squad’s lone fifth-year player, Amanda Moppett.
"I was surprised going in with such a young team how confident and aggressive we were," explained Moppett, the Dinos’ lone all star at the tournament, after recording at least 10 digs and 10 kills in three of the five matches. "Our rookies handled it so well, they just fired it up. Looking at them and how strong they came out made us realize this is going to be a really good year."
In the end however, it was just a preseason tournament–a fact not lost on any of the girls. Still, coming out of the gate this strong is heartening, especially for a team with one goal in mind.
"This is our year to do it," stated Moppett, alluding to the elusive national title. "We won’t be holding anything back."
Veteran middle Tracy Keats took in the action at a preseason exhibition match between the Dinos and Edmonton’s King’s College Tues., Sept. 30. Keats, sporting six-inch scars on her shins from recent surgery, was optimistic about her recovery, stating she’ll be swimming in the next couple weeks and hopes to resume full training by December.
“So, how was the weekend?”