CapU Women’s Volleyball has turned a rebuilding year into another medal contention
JUSTIN SCOTT // MANAGING EDITOR
Photo c/o Vancouver Sport Pictures
The women’s volleyball team is in the midst of a self-described rebuilding year, and after a rocky start to the season they’re currently tied for second place in the Pacific Western Athletic Association (PACWEST). “We’re starting to figure out what’s working for us and we’re meshing,” said team captain Tyneille Neufeld. The team is young. They have eight first year, three second year and three third year players.. Due to this, they knew that it would take some time for them to build chemistry and that it was unlikely that they would see immediate success as the season began.
They started the season 4-6, which was accentuated by a three-game losing streak to end October and beginning November. However, they swept a back-to-back series against the Camosun College Chargers to end the first part of their season with a respectable 6-6 record.
“[The beginning of the season] went how we expected,” Neufeld said. “Going into the season with a younger team. I think we did exactly what we had to do, we got in well- there, figured our stuff out and came out of the first term 6-6.”
The women have opened the second part of their season with two more sets of back-to-back wins against the Columbia Bible College Bearcats, snapping the Abbotsford school’s five-game win streak, and the College of the Rockies Avalanche this past weekend.
As the team is coming together as players, they’re emerging as an offensive powerhouse. They currently lead the league in attacks and assists, lead by Neufeld’s deadly right arm which has placed her at second in the PACWEST in kills. “We’re digging and passing the ball more than other teams, which is giving us more opportunities,” she explained. However, the team still has much to work on if they hope to medal for a fifth straight year.
Although their chemistry has improved, Neufeld believes that it still has a long way to go. “It’s a mental and confidence thing,” she said. The women may be young, but they’re an incredibly talented team. In Neufeld’s eyes, it’s just a matter of continuing to play together and understand one another as opposed to developing individual skill sets.
Neufeld acknowledged that third year players Meghan Koven, Zoe Mydansky and herself needed to embrace their new role as leaders, something that they are still learning how to do. And for Koven and Mydansky, leadership isn’t the only new thing to them this season.
Both players have transitioned from outside hitters to middles this year, a process that while grueling, has paid off. Koven is currently sixth in the league in blocks and Mydansky eighth – impressive stats considering it’s their first year at the position. Another aspect of the team’s game that needs improving is their offence.
While it has been a damaging attack, the vast majority of it is coming from the left side of the court. While this may be standard volleyball attack, Neufeld believes that if the team can bring some diversity to where their balls are being hit from, it will create new opportunities from other positions as well as open up the left side. “It seems to be our strength, attacking from the left,” she said. “It’s where most of our sets go to, which is unfortunate because I’d like to see us spread our offense a bit more.”
So far then, this season can be considered a success. CapU’s young team has started to find their identity and are making strides to become a serious contender for the PACWEST title. “One of my goals was to definitely medal at provincials, and I think that that’s still a goal,” Neufeld said. “We’ve come together as a team as much as we could have in one semester.” With the second place Vancouver Island University Mariners visiting CapU’s Sportsplex for a back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday, the Blues will have a chance to prove how serious they really are.