Women’s volleyball loses final home game
By Eric Wilkins, Sports Editor
The women’s volleyball team suffered a loss to the Capilano University Blues on February 15. The game was the final home match for fifth-year middle Kalena Connors and she was recognized before the game for her time with the Royals with a speech from coach Kyra Iannone.
“She’s been a constant inspiration to all of our younger athletes here at Douglas. She’s dedicated to not only athletics and our team, but to her academics. Her time management and juggling skills are really something that our younger players look up to. It’s great to have such an amazing role model for them. On a personal level, Kalena has a special place in my heart because she was one of the first reasons I decided to come to Douglas, and I don’t know Douglas without Kalena, so it’ll be very hard next year to be here without such a special individual. Kalena, from the team, from the school, from the coaching staff, I want to say that I hope this is always your home court and we are always a family. Thank you for five years.”
The opening set wasn’t quite how the Royals wanted it to go. Despite some strong showings from libero Ilaina Hecimovic and left-side Madison Burt, the Blues were always in control, taking the opener 25-14. The second set was to be more to the hosts’ liking. Setter Kelsi Taron supplied two aces and Connors made sure she got in on the action, chipping in a kill near the end of the set, before a long rally saw middle Avneet Shokar finish it off 25-23.
That was to be as good as it would get for Douglas that evening, though. The third and fourth sets went to Capilano by scores of 25-16 and 25-16 for a 3-1 victory. Left-side Toni Vandenbrink and middle Taylor Gammel had their moments in the final frames but it wasn’t enough to push the team through.
Vandenbrink said after the game that despite the loss, the team is up for provincials. “If we’re all there playing as a team and playing with passion, I feel like we can really surprise.”
Vandenbrink also remarked on what Connors has meant to the squad: “We’re going to miss her a lot. She’s definitely a key player on our team and an inspiration to us all. We always look up to her. It’s going to be sad when she’s gone.”
Connors agreed with Vandenbrink on the squad’s provincial chances. “We definitely can [win]. We have all the potential in the world. We just need all our players to show up and give 110 per cent and leave everything on the court.”
As for her time at Douglas, Connors said, “These past five years have been amazing. These last two years especially since Kyra’s taken over the program, I’ve just learned so much. And all the girls I’ve played with, we’re such a family. We’re so close. I love them all.”
The team will try and book a national’s berth starting February 20 at provincials.