July 21st, 2024

Kodiak women’s volleyball to navigate through a rebuild

By Lethbridge Herald on October 24, 2023.

Herald photo by JUSTIN SEWARD Aideena Wickstrom attempts a hit during practice on Tuesday .

By Justin Seward

Lethbridge Herald

For the Lethbridge College Kodiaks women’s volleyball team, this season will be about  rebuilding with a big turnover in the roster from the fourth place finishing team from a year ago.

Head coach Anna Schwark will be tasked with molding seven new players with nine returning players together.

“So, it’s just finding that common ground of what do we all buy into and how do we all stay on the same page,” said Schwark.

“It’s tough sometimes for a 17, 18 year old to connect with a 23 year old, right. So just yeah trying to find that common ground, and I think really what it is, is just  that we all love volleyball, and we love being Kodiaks, and having that motivate us to come in the gym every night.”

There were only a small handful of players that played  the opening weekend against Ambrose that had Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference experience.

“A lot of the girls on the floor are getting maybe their first start ,or their second  start or their first points in this league,” said Schwark.

“So, yeah, it’s just trying to find a way that we’re all comfortable on the floor, and kind of  playing at home and playing away kind of has their own challenges. You’re nervous to play in front of fans that might heckle you, but you’re still nervous to play in (front) of mom and dad,  and boyfriends, girlfriends and friends. It’s been a little tough. That wasn’t really something we had to worry about last season. We could kind of rely on our really old returners, our sixth years and stuff, to get the job done.”

The women’s team had to fill holes this off season on their left side after losing sixth years Mac Lewicki and Jamie Brown to graduation.

“They were skilled, they were physical, they were so smart, like they have great IQs, and so  that’s something we’re really looking for,” said Schwark.

“And so, losing two of our starting passers, that’s not easy. Those are two really, really big holes that we need to fill.”

The team also lost their starting libero Elyse Doble from last season.

“So, yeah, we’re really trying to encourage our liberos now, they’re both  first years,” she said.

“So we encourage them to just be leaders, be confident, get out there, put themselves out there, fail, but keep trying because that’s really how Elyse did it. She went and she failed and she failed  her first few years. But she ended up being I think if not the best, one of the best liberos in the league.”

She is also looking forward to seeing the new liberos Reanna Gage and Quincy Price.

They’re both doing a stellar job, said Schwark.

“They  kind of take turns on who kind of earns the starting spot every day because they just battle really hard in practice … We can dress two liberos now. So I’m hoping that they can both prove that they  get that jersey and we can dress them both.”

In what she noticed in the new players, Fourth year veteran Eryka Woods said they definitely have a lot of want to win and it’s really there.

“They’re just really trying to build their confidence, and I think once they get their confidence they’re probably one of the best rookie groups we’ve had come in. And  I can see them do super, super well in the future,” said Woods.

Woods wants to try and calm the nerves of the younger players.

The women’s team dropped their first two games of the season to Ambrose over the weekend.

Their next game is versus the University of Alberta- Augustana Vikings on Nov.4 at 1 p.m.

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