Climbing the charts
The women’s volleyball team gains momentum on their quest for nationals
Article: Brady Lang – Sports Writer
The Regina Cougars women’s volleyball team has seemed to hit its stride at the right time.
The Cougars have won five of their last six games and look to be headed in the right direction going into nationals in late February. Their success, however, can’t be pinpointed on specific players; they’re winning as a team.
“There really isn’t one person that is getting it done on our team,” said Regina native and fifth-year Cougars star Desiree Ates. “We rely on each other – like all team sports. If one of us is struggling in the game another player steps up and pulls them out into the direction we need to be as a team.”
The ladies split their two games this weekend against the University of Manitoba Bisons (11-7), but their recent success just goes to show that the pieces are falling together at the right time. Ates attributes all of the team’s success to their teamwork, and a willingness to be there for each other.
“The team is coming together and relying on each other when were struggling. We always have someone we can look to and our girls pick it up,” she said. “Overall, everyone has stepped up their game. With nationals coming up we need to prepare the best that we can to help our chances in the playoffs. Going into the second half we learned what has been working for us and what hasn’t. In these five games [that we won] we’ve come out, have been practicing hard and preparing well and it has showed on the court.”
Ates, who graduated from Sheldon-Williams Collegiate, is now in her second season back at the University after spending three years down south in the US at New Port Richey, Florida and at the University of New Hampshire. But after her time spent in America, Ates is happy to be back playing in front of a home crowd.
“It’s really exciting coming back to Regina,” she said. “When I graduated the first thing I wanted to do was to leave Regina. I never thought twice about playing for the University [of Regina]. Now I’m so happy being here. It’s something different about playing in front of your friends and family. Even seeing some of my old high school teachers come out and cheering you on. You get kids recognizing you around town and they will say ‘oh my god you play for the Cougars!’ It’s a really good home feeling. It’s awesome having the support of the community.”
It may be the added support that the Cougars have been getting around Regina, but they have been pulling themselves out of a rough start. The team now sits at 8-10; good enough for a tie for seventh in Canada West standings with cross province rivals the University of Saskatchewan Huskies.
Going into the second half Ates and the Cougars know what they need to do for their success to carry over into the ladder part of 2014.
“With nationals coming up we need to prepare the best that we can to help our chances in the National playoffs,” said Ates. “Going into the second half we learned what has been working for us and what hasn’t. In these five games [that we won] we’ve come out, have been practicing hard and preparing well and it has showed on the court.”
The ladies will now turn their attention to the winless Thompson River squad in Regina this upcoming weekend. If they stick to what they’ve been doing right the ladies have the chance to climb the standings and build up as much momentum as they can heading into Nationals, which the team is also hosting Feb. 28- Mar. 3.