There are two spots for setters on the travel roster. There are three setters. Oh Kevin Boyles, what will you do? That's the dilemma facing the Head Coach of the Dinos women's volleyball squad as he begins his third year with the program, trying to build on an impressive 20-2 2000/2001 campaign.
Boyles has third-year setters Heather Wearmouth and Amanda Stepenko on his roster. For those of you unfamiliar with the makeup of our Canada West Champion volleyball squad, Wearmouth and Stepenko are basically the 1997 versions of Air Canada and Canadian Airlines. Both have comparable skills and both showed themselves capable of running the Dinos' high-powered offence. Despite the fact that Wearmouth started last season, the two were basically interchangeable much like the previously-mentioned airlines.
New to the mix is Natalie Shwartz (think WestJet) who comes to the Dinos fresh from high school. Shwartz has a Junior National Team background which should make both veterans cringe. This combination will prove for an interesting training camp. After all, we all remember what happened to the big two when little WestJet came along. There's simply no room for three major airlines in Canada and there's only room for two setters on the Dinos travel roster.
The strength of the women's volleyball team becomes apparent when we realize having three quality setters is coach Boyles' biggest problem. Returning at the power position is Alisa Marriott, the reigning Canadian Interuniversity Sport Most Valuable Player. Marriott, along with beach volleyball partner Amanda Moppett, make up the most feared one-two punch in the league.
On top of that, Krista Kinsman (also known as Senior National Team Krista Kinsman) will play on the left side making a Dinos' return to the National Championships look almost certain.
In the middle, the Dinos have Jill Friend and Tracy Keats--both well over six feet. So, when Calgary plays their Canada West foes, think of it as the Brazilian soccer team against the Faroe Islands or perhaps the U.S. men's basketball squad against Luxembourg.
With their powerful starting corps back for another year, the Dinos look almost certain to compete for their first national crown since 1994. Marriott and Kinsman both enter their fifth and final seasons of CIS eligibility which will translate into monster stats as they look to win a championship on their way out.
There is no shortage of talent, motivation and spirit with this squad, and even injuries won't stop the Dinos from having a great year. The Dinos are deep at every position and their bench could probably beat division rivals Trinity Western and Saskatchewan not to mention 90 per cent of Canadian teams east of Manitoba. Not that we're raising the bar really high for this team or anything...