Pemmican anyone?

By Lawrence Bailey

Another weekend, another sweep–this team is finally getting rolling.

After struggling with consistency in the first half of the season, the #1 ranked Dinos women’s volleyball team is playing with a little attitude, playing like they know they’re the best.

“All year we were fluctuating up and down and then, after the [games against] the University of Alberta, we knew we could stay at this level,” explained third-year Dino and Canada West Female Athlete of the Week Joanna Niemczewska. “There’s no reason to let up, we know what we’re capable of and we’ll keep cruising on up.”

Dinos Head Coach Kevin Boyles agrees.

“I think we’re seeing a lot of maturity from a lot of key players,” he explained, singling out Niemczewska and third-year setter Natalie Schwartz as being chief among them.

That maturity shone through Jan. 30-31 against the University of Manitoba Bisons, as the Dinos dropped the first game both nights before powering back to take both matches in four (19-25, 25-15, 25-20, 25-21 on Friday and 16-25, 25-22, 25-18, 25-17 on Saturday). The wins, running the Dinos streak to five straight and securing their spot atop the nation, are just the beginning according to Schwartz.

“This weekend helped build our confidence, but I still think we don’t know how good we are,” Saturday’s player of the game explained. “We have about four more notches we can step it up, and that, to me, is unbelievable.”

The Dinos are certainly rolling as they head to Regina Feb. 6-7 for a pair of tilts to close out their regular season schedule. Following those two games, the Dinos will be hosting the first round of the Canada West playoffs Feb. 20-21. It is the first step en route to their fourth straight trip to the national championship tournament, the first step towards the stated goal of every member of the squad–a national title.

Rally Points:

It’s been a long road, but fifth-year middle Jill Friend is making a case for regaining the starting job that was hers over the last two seasons.

Coming off the bench in Saturday’s contest, she looked like the Jill of old, making one of the Dinos strongest positions even stronger.

“She’s just created lots of problems for me,” laughed Boyles, alluding to his quartet of quality middles becoming a quintet. “It leaves me with a lot of tough decisions to make. However, I think if they can keep their egos in check about it, that kind of depth will win us a national title.”

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