Sports
VOLLEYBALL, EH? Okay!
The Gauntlet

Women’s Volleyball

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Talent: A

Was Babe Ruth a good baseball player? Was Muhammad Ali charismatic? Were Cheech and Chong high? Much like answers to these questions, the talent level of this team is obvious but hard to quantify. There was an all-star or a potential all-star at every position and the Dinos had a deep bench. Krista Kinsman was an All-Canadian and the team also included Amanda Moppett (who floats instead of jumping) and Alisa Marriott, a former CIS Player of the Year.

Effort: A

The beauty of playing on a deep and talented team is that everyone's playing time is in danger. No player could afford to tank it for a night when several capable backups were just waiting for their chance to shine. Calgary played through tough injuries; captain Amanda Moppett managed to keep her shoulder from popping out all season, libero Tara Deeks played through massive back problems and outside hitter Lianne Leonardi was available to play at nationals after blowing out her knee barely a month before.

Coaching: B+

Head Coach Kevin Boyles managed to use his entire roster all season long without hearing major complaints about playing time from his team. Boyles brought along his rookies too-most notably setter Natalie Schwartz. She won the starting job in the second half of the year. The only downside for the Dinos was that they peaked too early. Boyles' team played their best volleyball in the conference playoffs and never achieved their major goal-a national championship.

Achievement: B+

The women were ranked first in the country for most of the season and were just about perfect. However, they lost in the national final to the University of Manitoba. At year's end their longest losing streak was one, and they played entertaining volleyball week in and week out. For any other team, a conference title and an 18–2 record in the Canada West is a success. For the Dinos, one more win would have made the year complete.

Overall: A-

Watching the Dinos lose the national title game was like watching Simon Phoenix die at the end of Demolition Man. Sure Wesley Snipes was the outrageously loud and colorful one, but you cheered him on anyway. Sly Stallone didn't deserve to win and neither did Manitoba. All the misguided notions of U of M as a "nice, emotionless team" were destroyed when setter Jen Dowdall did a dance with the CIS trophy. Seriously, who dances with a trophy?

Professional wrestler they remind me of: The Rock. Rocky's the fun one, the charismatic one-or if you will-the great one. However, the Brahma Bull still hasn't won the title at Wrestlemania. He's done everything else but Stone Cold Steve Austin always beats him at Wrestlemania with the World Championship on the line.

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