Archive for May, 2012

Province well represented at selection camp

- May 22nd, 2012

The national Senior women’s volleyball program is back and training in Winnipeg this week and Volleyball Canada released the names of those players invited to the camp that will determine the A and B teams going forward this summer.

There are no shortage of Manitobans among the 49 hopefuls looking to make one of the two squads, with the A team staying and training in Winnipeg to prepare for the Pan Am Cup later this summer.

Three former Manitoba Bisons — Tricia Mayba, Kristi Hunter and Kate Wasyliw — are among those invited, each of them having been through this process before. Soon-to-be-Bison Taylor Pischke, who has transferred back home after half a year at UC-Santa Barbara, is also in the mix.

Two with ties to the Winnipeg Wesmen are in attendance: Former Wesmen setter Amanda Bakker and libero Tesca Andrew-Wasylik, who graduated this season after being named conference libero of the year, got invites.

Brandon-born left side Lisa Barclay of the UBC Thunderbirds is a return invitee and is joined by her former high school and club teammate Kellie Baker of the Brandon Bobcats. Finally, St. Andrews product Megan Cyr, who is now at North Carolina State after a brief stint at Colorado, rounds out the list of Manitobans invited.

Barclay, Andrew-Wasylik, Mayba and Hunter all competed on the Senior B team that went to the FISU games last summer in Chinda.

The team will train through Thursday at the U of M.

* * *

It has been a couple of weeks of tremendous highs and lows for the national men’s volleyball team.

The Senior A team fell one win shy of an Olympic berth two weeks ago at the NORCECA qualifying tournament in Long Beach, Calif., a loss to the U.S. in the final sealing the team’s fate after it had stunned No. 5-ranked Cuba in straight sets in the round robin. With only the champion of the qualifier gaining entry to the Olympics, the No. 18-ranked Canadians couldn’t put together one more upset and lost to the sixth-ranked Americans in a three-set sweep that ended the country’s hopes for this Olympic cycle.

And while that disappointment surely took a while to wear off for the players involved, it was tempered slightly by a solid showing at the first leg of World League play this weekend in Toronto.

The Canadians went 2-1 in pool play, including a program-defining upset of world No. 1 Brazil on national TV on Saturday afternoon. The following day Canada was taken down in four sets by No. 4 Poland, but the past couple of weeks of play has shown just how close the Canadians are inching towards again being among the world’s best.

The team, which features Winnipeg’s Justin Duff, Brandon’s Dustin Schneider — both products of the Wesmen program — and former Bison Toon van Lankvelt of Rivers, is still considered a young group for the most part and just the Canadians’ reentry into the prestigious World League is a boon in itself to the program.  The World League is a 16-team invite-only competition that stretches over months and features the top teams on the planet.

What the Canadians’ loss in Long Beach showed was just how heartbreaking the entire Olympic process can be. You work for years to get one shot and, if you don’t get it, it’s another four long years away from happening again.

What it also showed, though, is Canada is not that far away from 2016.

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