Sports
NOW CLEARED FOR TAKE OFF: Rookie setter Natalie "WestJet" Schwartz (right) and all-star Alisa Marriott flew high above the competition.
Aaron Whitfield/The Gauntlet

Red tide sweeps through Canada

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If decades of repressive communism taught us anything, propaganda is a skill worth picking up. Wheat shortages, collective farm productivity and even those Lada quotas--all go away with skillful manipulation of the press.

While the University of Calgary women's volleyball team probably isn't communist, the Gauntlet's coverage of their exploits will read like Breznhev-era Pravda. And if their entire season goes as smoothly as last weekend's Coast-to-Coast Tournament in Winnipeg, we won't even have to make up any facts.

The Dinos defeated their Canada West rivals the University of British Columbia to win the tourney. Their performance in the final showed both their incredible talent and their apparent weakness. But as any good Bolshevik will tell you, emphasis on the positives is key. So while UBC took the first two sets from the Dinos and Calgary had to win the entire match from behind, we'll try to put a different spin on things.

"We learned a lot," said Dinos captain Amanda Moppett of her team's performance. "We sucked at times but we were unbelievable at others. Now we have to find a happy medium and eliminate the sucking."

"We haven't started any of our matches well," admitted Head Coach Kevin Boyles. "We've had trouble closing out games and we've blown a couple of leads."

In the former times, Moppett and Boyles would be reprimanded for such comments. A few years in the gulags would teach them to stress wins, rather than slow starts.

The Dinos victories were impressive. Calgary won a Canadian tournament which included last year's
national champions (the University of Manitoba), UBC, and the Universite du Laval (possibly the strongest team in Eastern Canada). The Dinos beat Laval twice and power hitter Alisa Marriott won the tournament's Most Valuable Player award. Rookie setter Natalie "WestJet" Schwartz was a pleasant surprise earning tournament all-star honours. Sometimes the truth is even sweeter than state-manufactured lies.

"Natalie has come along much quicker than we thought," said Boyles of his young setter. "All three of our rookies have been great.

"Our expectations from the get go have been to win a national title," he added. "But there's a handful of teams that will be real challenge."

Rally Points:

The Dinos face the University of Toronto in Saskatoon next weekend when they play another preseason tourney. This will be the first chance for Calgary to redeem themselves after an upset loss at the hands of Toronto in last year's National Finals.

Right side player Krista Kinsman may rejoin the team as early as next weekend. She is currently with the Canadian National Team, but may be able to make it to Saskatoon for the tourney.

Coach Boyles agreed to buy his team lunch if they won last weekend's tournament. Captain Amanda Moppett described it as a "win-lose situation for him, but win-win for me." Boyles' only comment of his 13-member roster was, "those girls can eat."

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