April 21st, 2024

Kodiaks ready for tough test in their championship opener

By Lethbridge Herald on February 21, 2024.

By Justin Seward

Lethbridge Herald

For the first time in school history, the Lethbridge College Kodiaks women’s volleyball team will be hosting the ACAC women’s volleyball championships beginning today.

The South Division fourth-seeded Kodiaks (8-11) open the tournament tonight against the Lakeland Rustlers, who finished first in the North Division with an 18-1 record.

What may help the Kodiaks is riding the high of winning six straight matches to end the regular season.

“Big motivation for us,” said Anna Schwark, Kodiaks head coach.

“Nobody else in the league has been able to do that. So we’re feeling really good and it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. What we really need is confidence, (and) today (Tuesday) looking at some game film and  looking at Lakeland’s scores, they’ve done a pretty good job at  handling nearly everybody in the league … For us, I think there’s a little bit of that mental hurdle of this is a really good team that hasn’t even lost many sets.”

The Kodiaks have been placing an emphasis on their serving going into the championship.

“We’re hoping that they’re going to be surprised with what we can do on the service line,” said Schwark.

“I think against Olds we proved that we can be aggressive servers, (during the) SAIT weekend we really amped it up and then I think we did even better against NAIT and NWP (Northwestern Polytechnic) (in)our last weekend of league. So it’s just getting better and better each match and the girls are really confident there. So I think that’s going to be a big factor.”

The Kodiaks know Lakeland work really within system.

“We’re really working on how do we be just as lethal when we’re out of system and in system and how can we force them to play an out of system game more often so that we just have an easier time with defence.”

The coaches want the players to take the opportunity and enjoy it.

“It is easier said than done because internally we all put … so much pressure on ourselves,” said Schwark.

“But really just kind of going into this and knowing like we’re going against a defending national championship team. We’ve got nothing to lose, like let’s go out there, let’s  just fight …  on our home court and see what happens.”

Third-year Kodiak Aideena Wickstrom will look to bring her leadership to the team.

“Whether things are going  good or bad, I just want to try to be a calming presence on the court and just do my part to score points whenever possible,” said Wickstrom.

This is  Hadlee Fleischhauer’s first season with the team and there will be a lot to soak in for her.

“I think we have a really good group of girls and I think it’ll be  reallyexciting just seeing what they can all bring on the court and off the court, as well as just showing everybody like how good of a team we are,” said Fleischhauer.

The game between the Kodiaks and Rustlers is at 8 p.m. tonight at Val Matteotti Gym.

The schedule and results can be found at http://www.acac.ab.ca as the championship runs Thursday through Saturday.

The winner moves on to a semi-final while the loser will battle in the consolation side of the bracket for fifth place in the eight-team tournament.

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