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Club News Story

Hard work will pay off...

2015 / 12 / 07

Last week, Emie Gaboury was one of four Junior National Team athletes invited to attend the National Women’s Team training camp in Winnipeg. The reason for a mid-season training camp for our National Women’s team was to prepare them for the 2016 NORCECA Olympic Qualification tournament in Lincoln, Nebraska from January 7th to 9th, 2016.

We thought it would be a great opportunity to catch up with Arnd Ludwig the Women’s National Team Head Coach so that he could provide us insight on why they invited the four Junior National team athletes as well as providing us with an update of the four other female alumni that have worn the colours for Canada internationally.

The Canadian women, ranked 16th in the world, will be competing against world number one USA, Dominican Republic (world number 7), Puerto Rico (world number 15) for the one coveted direct berth to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games as the NORCECA Zone representative. The second and third place teams will have other opportunities to qualify later in the year competing against the second and third place finishers from the other zones in the world. 

Lupo states:

“We will have our qualifier on January 7-9. If we finish first we will go to Rio, if we finish 2nd or 3rd we will have another chance in May. Hopefully we will be successful in that process. 
If we will not qualify, the biggest challenge for us will be to keep the core group of the current team for another 4 years. Volleyball is sport in which you peak usually very late. You play your best Volleyball when you are over 25. So if we can keep these players then they will be in their prime in 4 years.”

We asked him why they invited junior aged athletes to this camp when the seasoned professionals are returning to make a run for the berth. As well we asked him what his expectations of the junior aged athletes were.

“We have right now a group of 7 athletes training in Winnipeg and preparing for the Olympic qualifier. The rest of the team is playing overseas. We all will meet again on December 27.
The girls at FTC are practicing until December 20th and we thought it would be a great opportunity for young athletes to come in and practice with the players of the National team so that they can see what is required to play at the highest level and what they need to do to get there. We are hoping that this will motivate them to work hard and that they see a career 
[on] the National Team in their future. 
It is also a great opportunity for us to keep connected with young players who have the abilities to represent their country in the future. My girls are very excited to have these players here and work with them for three days.”

Emie will undoubtedly soak in all the experience that will be presented to her as she knows that this time around she will be there as a support role to prepare the veterans. She will learn how the professionals manage training and the stress of having a one in four opportunity to reach their life long dream of competing in an Olympic Games.  Hopefully it will help her in 2020 and 2024 when she is the seasoned veteran looking to achieve her life long dream. Enjoy the experience Emie!

We also took the opportunity to ask coach Lupo about our four other National Team athletes and here are his thoughts:

On Shainah Joseph (Mav’13, University of Florida) who had her first Senior “A” experience this past summer after having played on the Junior National Team in 2012:

“Shainah is an unbelievable athlete and very great person to have on your team. She can push her team mates with her positive attitude. Her skills at the net (attack and blocking) are phenomenal. [She has] some work [ahead of her] but I believe she can be a really good international player and have a great impact on the national team.”

The work that coach Lupo is referring to is Shainah’s conversion from middle attacker to a passing and defending left side. Shainah under the guidance of her coach at Florida (a past USA National Women’s Team Head Coach and Manager) decided that Shainah should red shirt her junior year thus allowing her two more seasons of NCAA eligibility where Shainah will be a six rotation left side. For those that follow the NCAA game they will know that these athletes are rare with the immense specialization in the US collegiate game. This means that Shainah will complete a 5th year in university and is exploring masters study options along with her on court work.

Shainah who holds the National Women’s team spike touch record of 10 feet 9 inches is well on her way to making a significant impact on the Women’s National team.

On Vicky Savard (Mav’11, Université de Montréal – 2015 CIS Bronze Medalist)

“Vicky Savard was with the program 3 years ago. I haven’t seen her in the past two summers (FISU program was not run by us). From what I [know] about her from CIS championships and the few weeks she was with the program I see potential and she needs to learn how to get the best out of her abilities.”

Vicky has battled the injury bug for the past three seasons with nagging back and shoulder issues. At the 2015 CIS Championships Vicky went down with a untimely ankle roll and her team was unable to rally to defeat the eventual champions Trinity Western. We wish you health this season as you continue to pursue a professional volleyball career and a spot on the Senior “A” team!

On Sophie Carpentier (Mav’12, Trinity Western University, 2015 CIS Champion and 2014 First Team All Canadian)

“I saw Sophie Carpentier only at the CIS championships. She is good player but I don’t know enough about her to say how she would do [at] the international level.”

This is perhaps the one response that surprised us the most. Of all the athletes in this article Sophie has represented Canada the most, first in 2012 as part of the U23 National team and again this past summer on the World Universiade Games team.  It goes to show us all that even the top end athletes have to work to get noticed and once noticed they need to continue to compete at a high level internationally. Knowing Sophie this will continue to motivate her this season as her defending national champion team is undefeated in CIS play at 12-0. 

On Alina Dormann (Mav’15 – University of Toronto, Junior National Team):

“I don’t know Alina Dormann well.  Other than her being a Junior National Team athlete”

Not surprising given the fact that she turned 18 in August and is in her first year at the CIS level. She is a true first year athlete having sat in a high school desk until as recently as June of 2015. Traditionally first year athletes in Ontario are younger and less experienced when compared to their first year counterparts in other conferences in Canada.

Undoubtedly, Alina will continue to make a significant impact at the CIS level. Alina is currently the starting right side on the 4th ranked team in Canada and is on the first page of most CIS statistics a feat that neither Vicky nor Sophie accomplished in their first year.

To the up and coming Maverick females in the Club we have five examples of athletes that followed the same program as you are currently following, trained in the same gyms as you are, used the same volleyballs and had the same dreams as you do.

It is possible with hard work and determination.

“ There is always room at the top. ”
– Daneil Webster