The funny thing is, Alisa Marriott isn't even that tall. At first glance, she doesn't have the intimidating presence of her six-foot-one teammate Krista Kinsman. Her blond hair is neatly tied back and a smile never seems to leave her face. But looks and demeanour don't betray the truly fearsome volleyball talent hiding just beneath the surface. As the opposition found out this year, Marriott will make you pay for underestimating her. Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union Player of the Year honours are the league's way of making sure Marriott gets the credit she duly deserves.
"She's exceeded everyone's expectations including her own," said Dinos Head Coach Kevin Boyles. "It's hard to get the respect when you're five-foot-nine--it's even hard to get noticed at all."
Despite her physical limitations, the diminutive Dino has been turning heads all season with her solid defensive play and spectacular aerial attacks.
"She's had a great season," said Boyles. "As soon she came back this year she's been awesome. "She's done the same job every night, and she's put up good numbers every night."
As for her size, Boyles doesn't buy into the "height as a prerequisite to playing" attitude.
"If you can play, you can play," he smiled.
was pleased that Marriott got the nod for Player of the Year, especially since she shares the floor with two other stat demons, Kinsman and Amanda Moppett--both Second Team Canada West All Stars.
"It was a pleasant surprise; I thought it may go to Quebec," he smiled. "The West has had a strangle hold on awards and championships."
Marriott and the Dinos will have to live up to their high billing to make sure the national title doesn't leave Alberta, and coach Boyles thinks Marriott's individual honour will help the team play even better on the road.
"It raises the expectations on the team," he said. "It adds pressure, but it's good pressure. Alisa is a very powerful presence on the floor. She's a positive player leading by example."
The Dinos and their fans hope the new queen of CIAU volleyball can lead the Dinos to their first national title since 1994.