Meghan Koven believes the women’s volleyball team has an impending breakout ahead
Justin Scott // Managing Editor
Photos c/o Vancouver Sports Pictures
The Capilano University Blues women’s volleyball season has not started the way they wanted it to. They’re currently in fourth place in the Pacific Western Athletic Association (PACWEST) with a six and six record, but according to third-year player Meghan Koven, the team has nowhere to go but up. “It was a little bit of a rough start, but now we’re looking at finding what works for our team because we are young, we’re just trying to see how to bond as a team with so many first years coming in,” she said.
The team is extremely young this season, with more than half the roster being first-year players. With seven rookies wearing the Blues name on their chests, the team’s ‘veterans’ can be found in three second-year players and three third-year players. Due to this, players like Koven and outside hitter Tyneille Neufeld have been thrust into leadership roles. “I think I took a little bit more of a role where I wanted to bond with the first years who were coming in so that they could trust me and talk to me, I didn’t want to be too intimidating,” Koven explained. She has been mindful of giving the rookies personal support, while Neufeld has been more of a floor general.
But for Koven, taking on a leadership role isn’t the only new undertaking of her season. During the team’s training camp, head coach Cal Wohlford asked Koven if she could move to the middle position, which she did with enthusiasm. As much as switching positions in any sport can be a challenge, it wasn’t Koven’s first time embracing a new role on the court.
Koven already saw volleyball success even before post-secondary, winning the national club title in her senior year of high school with the BCO program. While most players would have their passion for the game reinvigorated after a national title, Koven considered retirement after the team’s victory. “In grade 12, I made the decision throughout the year that I wasn’t going to play volleyball whatsoever,” she explained. “My plan was that I was going to go to BCIT and I was going to do the medical radiology program.”
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Luckily for the Blues, Koven changed her mind after a fateful BCO-Blues joint practice. Wohlford had pulled her then-coach Dan Huzar aside after practice to let him know that should Koven decide to play university ball, the Blues would be welcoming her with open arms. “So, Dan came to me and was like, ‘I know you don’t want to play, but this is an opportunity you have if you want to do it,” she recalled.
With the Blues, Koven has won two provincial bronze medals and an inclusion to the PACWEST All-Rookie team in her first year. With the bittersweet taste of two bronze medals, Koven has come into this season looking for more.
Her transition to middle is going as well as could be hoped for, if not better, but due to an ankle injury, the beginning of her season hasn’t been as productive as Koven would have liked. After the team’s first six games of the season, Koven led the league in blocks, an impressive feat for a first-year middle. Since then, she’s missed five of the last six games, but is still the fourth most productive blocker in the PACWEST. “Coming in having not played middle before, I didn’t expect it so it’s something nice on the side,” Koven said.
She’s also figuring out what she can do to make an impact off the court as one of the team’s leaders. “I want to keep improving as a leader and getting the girls to trust me and believe in the team.”
The Blues don’t have any more games until the new year, so they’ll be spending the next month practicing, resting and coming together as a squad. In Koven’s eyes, the rocky start to their season wasn’t due to a lack of talent, but rather growing pains any young team is bound to encounter. “I just say, ‘trust the process,’ she said. “It’s the first semester, things are going to happen, this happens every year. It’s new to them so it may feel like a big deal to them, but I just say, ‘you’ve got to trust what we’re doing as a team and it will eventually all fall into place.”
The Blues volleyball teams will be back in action on Jan. 5 and 6 with a pair of home games against the sixth place Columbia Bible College Bearcats.