Setting new goals

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Get out of the way! /image: Arthur Ward

Get out of the way! /image: Arthur Ward

A look at this year’s volleyball squad

Article: Brady Lang – Sports Writer

Great news, U of R students. The women’s volleyball team doesn’t look half bad this year.

Coming off three seasons with a winning percentage under .350, the team is coming off a fourth-place finish in their U of R Invitational tournament a couple weeks ago to kick off the 2013-14 season.

The team thinks that because of their hard work and good coaching that they could do great things in the 2013 season. If their showing at the U of R Invitational is any indication, they may do just that.

The team finished in fourth, losing the bronze medal game to Alberta in four sets. The Cougars went 3-2 in the round robin, beating Thompson Rivers, Calgary and Winnipeg, while their losses came at the hands of Manitoba and, of course, Alberta, in the bronze medal game.

After last year, it’s crazy to think that the team would have been one win away from being in the finals at a tournament. The team had a rough go last season, finishing with a 5-17 record while ranking third-last in the Canada West division.

4th-year Cougars veteran Michelle Sweeting has high hopes for this year’s squad. “Expect a hard working team. We’ll go through our ups and downs, but expect a team that will never give up,” she said.
Sweeting has seen everything in her career with the Cougars.

The Maryfield, Saskatchewan product also thinks that her team’s success has a lot to do with coaching this season, and their ability to listen and work together as a team.

Sweeting, along with the team’s other veterans, which include two fifth-years and three fourth-years will have to carry a lot of the workload in 2013.

The Cougars rookies will have to be leaned on as well. First-year setter Leah Shevkenek believes her team could do big things this year.

“Were looking very good, very strong,” says the Calgary native. “I’m loving it, I’m having a lot of fun so far.”

Shevkenek is one of four rookies on the squad in 2014 and will be a great addition to the roster this upcoming year.

In the past few years it’s seemed that the volleyball team was always missing that one piece that makes a team a top contender. The team would be close during numerous games, only to eventually drop the final set by a small margin. If this team can pull it together, they have a shot at doing something truly special.

Cougars head coach Melanie Sanford is heading into her 12th season with the club. The team is in good hands as Sanford holds University of Regina records for most conference and playoff wins by a women’s volleyball head coach, something that she hopes to add to this year.

The Cougars have two pre-season tournaments coming up in Vancouver and Montreal in upcoming weeks. Their CIS season does not start until late October when they go on a road trip to Brandon and Winnipeg.

The Cougars first home games will be on Nov. 8-9 against Calgary, a team they defeated in the U of R Invitational, and will also be hosting this year’s CIS Championships from Feb. 28 – March 2, 2014.

Let’s hope the team can keep up the good work and have a successful season. The women’s volleyball team is definitely due for a good year.
Time will tell if Sanford’s club will actually break out of the basement and compete for a spot in the playoffs in 2014.

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