Huskies team characterized by improvement, commitment and camaraderie
The tale of this year’s women’s volleyball team is bittersweet. It’s a story of significant improvement throughout a 4-14 season, but one which ended on Feb. 12 with the squad sitting firmly outside the playoff picture.
Though there were just as many losses in the new year as in 2016, they were, without looking to soften the Huskies’ record, better losses. Inconsistency remained the bane of George Brown’s existence, but the team was more adept at moving past a lost point, while displaying sharper volleyball IQ and fundamentals.
“I have no regrets with everything that our team’s done,” said outside hitter Pao Ming Lee, who ended her Huskies career as George Brown’s women’s athlete of the week. “We didn’t get the results we wanted, obviously, but that’s okay. We still played with all our heart, and I think that’s what matters.”
Attracting athletes to the program is no easy feat. George Brown has no shortage of competitors, whether they’re schools down south or fellow Canadian post-secondary options. But the players a team starts with go a long way in determining where they’ll finish, which in turn helps determine a program’s ability to draw future cornerstones.
Long story short, recruitment is key, and Huskies head coach Dana Cooke recognized the need moving forward.
“I think it was still a bit of a building year,” said Cooke. “There needs to be from my end a little bit more focus on recruiting for building the program; as a whole, the league is getting more competitive.”
There will be numerous voids to fill next season, but George Brown’s cupboard isn’t bare. Third-year outside hitter/libero Audrey Chau should prove a vital veteran presence, while first-year Huskies Kelsey-Jane Lamprecht and Nicole Poupart will look to further the potential they showed.
Next year’s squad should take one lesson above all from this past season: commitment. These Huskies were dedicated from the first serve to the last point, through the ups and admittedly many downs. Let no one question this team’s perseverance.
“They put themselves on the line every day that they’re out there and some days it goes our way and some days it doesn’t, and then they come back into the gym and they give it all again,” Cooke said with pride. “As a coach, I can’t ask for anything more.”
Throughout the season, Cooke has shared variations of the same sentiment: there’s more to life than volleyball. The environment guided by this belief has fostered a warm camaraderie among the team, one central to their aforementioned level of commitment.
Middle/outside hitter Liz Malatestinic remarked upon how the team’s closeness has “made the year go by quickly” and for middle Julia Vit, it’s meant that being a Husky will go far beyond the court.
“I’ve made friends that I will keep for life,” said Vit, George Brown’s block solo season leader with 28. “This is my family, I’ve been a part of this family for four years and I’m never, ever going to stop being a Husky.”