U of C hosts National Women’s Volleyball Championship this weekend

In 2020, the U of C women’s volleyball team was set to host the national championship for the fourth time in school history. But at the last second, the COVID-19 pandemic won out.

Now, two years later, the U of C finally has the chance to host the top eight women’s teams in Canada.

Sophomore setter Stella Rains remembers that day in 2020 and says it wasn’t easy.

“It was really heartbreaking to be like on your way to the banquet and have it all canceled at the last minute,” the sophomore kinesiology student said.

“It’s a very different team now, but everyone is really motivated to go out there and show what we have got.”

DIFFICULT TEST TO BEGIN

The Dinos will face off for their first match Friday night at 6:00 p.m. at Jack Simpson Gym. The Dinos were just 5-13 in the regular season and enter the Nationals as the eighth seed. This means they have to face the number one ranked Trinity Westerns Spartans in their opener.

The Spartans are a powerhouse. They were 15-1 in the regular season and went through the Canada West playoffs with a perfect 6-0 record.

Team captain Kenzie Vaandering knows it will be a tough test.

“He’s a great opponent, but I think the great thing about the Nationals is that you come in and those records don’t matter anymore.

“It’s a game and you’re done and it’s kind of whoever shows up and works the hardest and has the best game plan is going to take it and move on.

“We’re as lucky as them, so we’re excited to play tomorrow (Friday) and bring it to them.”

EMBRACE THE ROLE OF OPINION

The Dinos will enter this game as huge underdogs. They will need to be near perfect against the Spartans if they are to progress on the Championship side.

First-year Dino Michela Alongi said that in a short tournament anything can happen, you just have to get hot at the right time.

First-year Dino Michela Alongi said that in a short tournament anything can happen, you just have to get hot at the right time.

“Yes, it’s going to be tough, but I feel like if we play our game, play defense like we know how to do and show up with a bit of guts, we can do our best and see where it leads us.”

GO OUT IN STYLE

Whatever happens with the Dinos in the tournament, it will always be a special moment for Vaandering. This will be her last season and she says it will be great to wrap up her career in front of her hometown fans.

“For me, two years ago I was thinking about this for my seniors and what I wanted to do was just play for them and try to give them a national championship,” Vaandering said.

“And now being in this position and having the young girls on our team saying the same things we play for you Kenzie.

“For your senior year, it’s really heartwarming,” she added. “And I’m super excited to play in front of the crowd.”

This is a list of other teams participating in the National Championships

Brock ranked number two

Alberta number three

Number four in Toronto’s standings

McGill ranks fifth

Dalhousie ranked number six

Mount Royal ranked number seven

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