Like a fine wine, the woman's volleyball team hopes to become better with time.
As it sits, our Dinos are young, eager and determined to win once again. The exception this season is that Calgary is less experienced than in years past. This is a problem that will have to be dealt with if the Dinos hope to go far in the Canada West Conference.
If that wasn't enough to deal with, the Dinos have already been plagued with injuries. Such key players as Amanda Moppett, Jill Friend, Ried Brodie, and Renee Tratechaud have already undergone bone scans before the regular season even started. This leaves us with the question: what does Head Coach Kevin Boyles have under his sleeve?
"We have a more talented squad this season, we are deeper and we will gain our experience as a group as the season goes on," said Boyles. "One difference with this team is that they will be stressful to watch. It's frightening how good they can be, but right now, they are unstable and lack the confidence on the court. Confidence will be something they will have to find themselves; it's not something I can teach them."
"We are more cohesive and the talent level has increased, we just may not be performing when necessary," added Moppett, who will once again anchor the squad and play power.
The Dinos hope to do whatever it takes to be the best. Boyles hopes to shock other teams with his young players and be competitive without all of his veterans.
He knows however, that players like Joanna Niemczewska and Moppet who are hitting well, will have to continue to bring their A game. Moppett will be faced with more challenges of her own as she takes on a new role as the backup setter for Natalie Schwartz.
"I think it will be challenging but exciting at the same time. Plus it will help to take some stress off my shoulder."
Consistency is something Boyles predicts will be a problem.
"We will have to take some lumps along the way, and have to find ways to fight back to the level this team is capable of." Fighting back should not be a problem. According to Boyles "this team hates losing;" it will just be a matter of seeing what the young players can do.
"But the team still needs to find a court presence," continued Boyles, and veteran middle Jill Friend agreed.
"It feels like there is a bit of a void out on the court," said Friend. "I just don't feel the presence of the other players yet. Last season you could feel the confidence and the cockiness on the court."
"The team just needs to find where everyone belongs and develop our own identity, one I know that will be different than last year's," stated Schwartz. "This year feels as though we will have a more 'in your face' quiet approach, it will be based on our play, not verbal like last year."
Preseason so far has been a reality check for the team who according to Moppett, "is used to being successful." But with every new team there is a phase of development and the Dinos are in it. Ideally, this phase will be short and sweet, resulting in a strong and well-balanced team that can dominate once again and win the Canada West.
Boyles feels though, that as the season goes on the consistency will come.
"All the team needs to do now is find their identity, and when they do they will be scary."