By Jo Wynn
One thing that is not hard to find on the Dinos women’s volleyball team this season is praise for star player Joanna Niemczewska. The fact that fourth year just won Canada West player of the week may seem impressive to most, but as Dino Janelle Findlay aptly puts it: “Jo’s athlete of every week.”
Well said, seeing as Niemczewska has a slew of awards and accolades under her belt, including the coveted CIS Female Athlete of the Year scholarship award for 2003/2004. Niemczewska also received the Olympic Gold of university sports when she was named CIS Player of the Year last season.
Niemczewska carries with her a skill and leadership for the game that is rare and coveted.
“Jo is a landmark on the court, whenever you see her muff [referring to her curly hair not something else you perverts] it just gives the whole team drive,” commented rookie Holly Harper.
Not only does Niemczewska lead on the court, but the 21 year old right side is also adored by her team-mates off the court.
“She is just the most genuine individual I have met. It is hard to explain, but you just know by the way she corresponds with you that she cares. Oh, and humble is definitely a key word!” gushes Brittany Hutton.
When asked about her phenomenal success, the ever modest Jo Show explains that it was a long road.
“In second year I’d be good one night, but would blow the second, this happened for… well eight months,” commented the MVP herself. “But my shoulder started to get really bad and I thought I couldn’t play anymore so I just started to appreciate it and try to have fun every day.”
While Niemczewska doesn’t mind the image she has this year as the team’s leader, she is aware of the difference from last season.
“There’s definitely more pressure this year,” explained Niemczewska. “Last year there was none really, but it doesn’t bug me, I kind of like it.”
Whatever she’s done seems to have paid off, with the team holding an 18-0 record this season, Niemczewska is looking to repeat last years success at nationals in March in Saskatoon. The Dinos host their last regular season games this weekend against the University of Regina Cougars, but if you need more of a Jo fix than you get at the Jack, you’ll most likely find her at the Den Saturday night winding down with her teammates.