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Club News Story

Pair of Alumni shine vs Gee Gees

2016 / 02 / 01

For many of our young female players their indoctrination into next level women's volleyball begins with a trip to the campus of the University of Ottawa and Monpetit Hall. Often it will be to help at their tournament, have a clinic or even attend a summer camp. But from there on the Gee Gee's are the standard they aspire to when the fire lights sparks their engine.

My own daughter came home from a camp with the Gee Gess back in the early 00's and proclaimed she was going to be a Gee Gee one day. Coach Lionel Woods reflected on how so many Ottawa area girls start that way but few actually finish with that desire. (My daughter played at Trent University so he was right in that regard)

However her generation and team mates did start a Maverick revolution of sorts, the English sisters (Kelsie and Myriam), Steph Theiler, Kayla Bell Hammond all joined former Mav Katherine Weihrer and this began a shift in attitude and belief. The Maverick HP Program had arrived and now destination Gee Gee was still the sought after goal at the 18u level. Coach Woods and Alumni Mav coach and Head Recruiter Bill Swyers were going fishing at home for some big game. The Gee Gee’s quickly rose in the CIS rankings and remained a force for the next 4 years with three tournament bids. The Garnet and Grey roster is still heavy with Mav grads, Alix Durivage, Kaly Soro, Meseret Tamrat, Sabrina Roy, Tatiana Kozebenko and Kara Hayes.

Now this is not to say that Ottawa U hasn’t had a lot of very talented and successful Ottawa born talent in the past, they have, many great players. But few with Maverick connections. More Ottawa girls were likely to join the ranks of the Blues, Marauders, Mustangs and even Martlets in years past. Those girls would all mark the calendar with the date they would return home to face the Gee Gee's. That day was always a highlight of their career.

That is still the case for some of our girls, the roster can only hold so many and the lure of an out of town education still holds the magic ticket for many young players. Specific academic programs, family, heritage and even financial incentive are all strong lures away from home and a U of O education. With the home team now so incredibly successful and filled with their predecessors young Maverick girls are getting a double dose of incentive to train to their best and try to be a Gee Gee or play in the CIS league. I hope they recognize those across the net who also have Ottawa and Maverick lineage.

Over the final weekend of January as mentioned, the Gee Gees had a good weekend on the court. For us in the Maverick Club that always brings a sense of pride. The performance of some opponents is also a beacon of success for our coaches and families. 

This weekend the Nippissing Lakers came to town and it was sophomore Annabelle Harvey who lead the way with 10 points for the Lakers in a 1-3 loss to Ottawa. While Annabelle only played her final season as a Maverick, her time with coach Judy Mousseau was an invaluable step in getting her to the OUA.

The following day the York Lions roared into town and tried to unsaddle the G’s. Leading the way was Freshman Callie Giancinno who spent three years in the Maverick club under coaches Dunning, Spack and Krawchuk as she worked her way to this dream. Callie contributed 11.5 pts to the York effort to spearhead her team’s offense.

Those performances would be highlights for these young women, recalling all the hours spent in that gym watching the best play for their schools and inspiring the dream they are currently living. To return and have a great performance in front of your home town fans, family and friends takes a little sting out of the loss. For us it shows us that what we do is worth it in helping all of our young charges reach their destiny. 

If you look at our Alumni page you will see the vast number of girls playing volleyball at the highest level across Canada and getting their education alongside that challenge. Many have won titlers and awards while most have been leaders on their teams. Some have now moved on to the professional or national team ranks. Their dreams all started with a trip down the stairs at Monpetit hall and a sight of young women reaping the rewards of hard work and determination. We can’t wait to see what the future brings for our youngsters but we know it will be exciting as we will keep bringing them to the hall of dreams.

Congrats to all our Alumni far and wide and keep setting a great example in fulfilling your dreams.


“ My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging. ”
– Hank Aaron