Sometimes you have a good team. Sometimes you have a great team. But if you're as lucky as the Dinos women's volleyball team, you have a team molded by the Almighty himself. It came as no surprise, when Canada West and Canadian Interuniversity Sport award recipients were announced Wed., Feb. 23 and Wed., Mar. 2 respectively, that the Dinos cleaned up like Mary Poppins.
Unstoppable right-side Joanna Niemczewska got the biggest spoonful of sugar, being named CW and CIS Women's Volleyball Player of the Year for the second straight year. She was also named a First-Team All-Star in both organizations. Niemczewska was monumental during the Dinos' playoff run last year and was a key factor in the ladies first Canadian championship in 10 years. For her efforts she was named 2003-2004 CIS Female Athlete of the Year.
Her success this year hasn't come with any less work. The 21-year old stands at a modest 5ïž´10ï›¸ but proved she could leave a handprint on the ball that will leave her name in print in the history books. She accumulated 320 kills in conference play including playoffs this season, averaging 3.56 per game--enough to put her behind bars for eternity. But this humanities major prefers to stay behind the net, where she totaled 169 digs, 12 solo blocks and 48 assisted blocks to date. The Warsaw, Poland native rounded out her stats with 13 service aces.
Joining Niemczewska as a CIS and CW First-Team All-Star is setter, Natalie Schwartz. Some may settle for good looks and charm, but this fourth-year Communications and Culture student added 970 sets to that combination, averaging 10.66 per game to date. To secure her spot in the history books, she added 11 service aces, seven solo blocks, 53 assisted blocks and 172 digs during her stellar season.
Also shining as bright as the bat signal in the sky this season was rookie Lauren Perry. She earned CW Women's Volleyball Rookie of the Year honors as well as a spot on the CIS All-Rookie Team. This 18-year old, fresh from Taber, AB, must have proven something to earn herself starts on a team as powerful and deep as the Dinos. Perhaps it was her 151 kills, averaging 2.25 per game. If 151 isn't deadly enough, she has added 14 service aces, 141 digs and a total of 46 blocks to date.
Reid Brodie joined the CW award winners, earning herself a Second-Team All-Star spot. From Kamloops, BC, this blocker chose the right province and city for school. In her five-years here, she has seen the Dinos walk into glory and helped them every step of the way. This season, including playoffs, she has amassed 176 kills, 15 service aces, eight solo blocks and 64 assisted blocks.
But where would any of these ladies be without the guidance and knowledge of a superior coach. Dinos Head Coach Kevin Boyles has been named both CW and CIS Women's Volleyball Coach of the Year. Although Boyles is no rookie to the CW award, having received it for the 2000-2001 season, he becomes the first Dinos women's volleyball coach to receive the national nod. Since assuming the Head Coach position on the women's team in 1999, Boyles has taken the volleysaurs to a new level. This is their fifth consecutive appearance at national championships. Three conference banners and a national championship last year have been the highlights of his Dinos leadership.
Boyles and his team of stars compete in the CIS Championships Mar. 3-5. If stats and awards say anything for a team, the Dinos are looking good. Hopefully we will all see a new banner hanging in the Jack in no time.