MCAC Women’s Volleyball  – 2021-22 Season Preview

For the first time, not only is a Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference (MCAC) women’s volleyball championship will be awarded but the winner now moves onto to the Nationals as being MCAC’s first representative at Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Women’s Volleyball Championship hosted by Holland College from March 9-12, 2022 in Charlottetown, PEI.

After a year hiatus due to the COVID-19, CMU Blazers look to defend their MCAC championship won in the 2019-20 season. The other three MCAC women’s volleyball teams will challenge for the conference title in a welcomed return to the court for the 2021-22 season.

Assiniboine Community College (ACC) Cougars

Head coach: Jeff Maxwell, entering 5th year as the head coach

Keys for the team: 

Key Additions: Mackenzie Zatylny – two time A volleyball provincial MVP

Key Returnee: Gina Musgrave – only returning player

Key Losses: Starting setter Trinity Billaney

Number of total team members to start the season: 11 players to begin the season and one more joining after Christmas

Record and MCAC championship history: 

2019-20 MCAC regular season record and placing: 8-12; 4th place in regular season; Lost in the semi-finals to USB in five sets

Last MCAC championship: none

Total MCAC championships (since 2000-01): 0

Season Preview with head coach comments: 

  • How is team/coach dealing with transition back into play after a year of not playing at this level.  “All players and coaches are very excited to play a meaningful game again. Everyone has been training off and on for 20 months without playing an important game.”
  • What games does the coach look forward to most. “The first game of the year for everyone involved including fans.”
  • What games does the coach feel will be a challenge and/or circled on the calendar.  “In this league every game is important because of the small number of teams.”
  • What does the coach expect from the League this year (i.e. competition, teams to watch for, etc.).  “It is hard to know what to expect because we are unsure of who everyone is returning and the quality of the recruiting class with limited volleyball being played in the country.”
  • What are the challenges they expect with the season.  “Developing a young team quickly to compete for the league championship in February.”
  • What are the team goals, expectations for the upcoming season /looking forward to.  “Our goal is to be a tough defensive and serving team that can compete for a championship.”
  • Please name a key performer for this upcoming year and why.  Jayda Moffat (Setter) –  “She is a four A Graduating All-Star from Portage that we hope can lead this team on the court.”    
  • Who is your team captains this year.  Gina Musgrave (Middle)
  • A comment/quote from team captain.  “There are many things I am looking forward to as the season is set to start. I am looking forward to playing with a great group of gals that are here to compete, it will be nice to get back onto the court and face competition. I am looking forward to identifying how I individually and we as a team can improve as the season progresses. Overall I’m honoured and happy to be apart of this years team!.” – Gina Musgrave
  • Final comment/quote from the head coach.  “We have a young team, but have been impressed with our growth over the first two months and I have positive expectations for our season.”

Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) Blazers

Head coach: Jayme Menzies, entering 3rd year as the head coach

Keys for the team: 

Key Additions: After a mass exodus of veteran athletes (academic and corona related reasons), 10 first year athletes added to the team.

– Rachel Bartel: “All around capable athlete and master of multiple positions.”

– Halle Meisner: “A left side with a reliable first contact and put-away power on the attack.”

– Paige Wright: “Smart and athletic setter who will carry the program in to the future after a year of learning from Renee Desroches.”

– Sofia Ertulova: “Right side with height, strength, composure, and the potential to make that position the team’s go-to attack in the future.”

– Brooklyn De Jong: “She plays middle and is not a flashy player but brings enormous levels of leadership and hard work to practices as well as composure.”

Key Returnee: Renée Desroches (4thyear Setter), Chloe Friesen (4thyear Middle),

Lydawn McGarry (4thyear Libero)

Key Losses: Jessica Edel: “Perhaps most notable: Jessica was the starting left-handed right side on our team that most recently won the MCAC championship. She was a go-to attack with a high kill efficiency and huge block presence, only in her third year. She would have been a returning captain and definitely a go-to hitter. She was accepted in to the education program at U of Manitoba so is pursuing her career path.”

– Mackenzy Groot, Middle: “Would have been in her fourth year of eligibility, but I am happy to report that she transferred to University of Manitoba and was added to the Bisons roster. She would have been a huge block and attack and leader for us, but we’re looking forward to watching her progress in USPORTS.”

– Leia Jaworski, Left Side: “She played her first year as a redshirt with the U of W Wesmen then transferred to CMU to play last year. Corona prevented us from seeing her enormous potential lived out on the court – she jumps, she pounds the ball, she digs, and passes. Unfortunately she is currently out with a back injury so is taking the semester away from CMU classes but we are hopeful that she can return to our roster in the winter semester.”

– Annika Loeppky, Setter and co-captain: “Anyone who has met Annika knows that the reasons she will be missed on and off the court are immeasurable. She decided to focus on her science degree in order to continue to maintain her near perfect GPA.”

-Vanessa Friesen, Left Side/Libero: “She was the team spark plug. In her first two years on a formerly veteran team her roles mainly included going in to pass, dig, infuse the team with energy and a refusal to lose. She would have taken on a great role this year.”

Number of total team members to start the season: 14 players on roster, 2 redshirts

Record and MCAC championship history: 

2019 MCAC regular season record and placing: 14-6; 2nd place in regular season; Won championship final over USB in three sets

Last MCAC championship: 2019-20

Total MCAC championships (since 2000-01): 4 (2008-09, 2009-10, 2016-17, 2019-20)

Season Preview with head coach comments: 

  • How is team/coach dealing with transition back into play after a year of not playing at this level.  “With patience, hard work, basics, space for mental/emotional check ins, and fun.”
  • What games does the coach look forward to most.  “Given that we are a young team, I am looking forward to seeing the team’s progress by February. It is always a joy to see a group be able to finish more rallies than they could months prior.”
  • What games does the coach feel will be a challenge and/or circled on the calendar.  “We have already scrimmaged against U of W a couple times and will play a couple USPORTS teams again in January. I look forward to seeing the progress against that level of competition.”
  • What does the coach expect from the League this year (i.e. competition, teams to watch for, etc.).  “We’re going in without preconceptions, given the long pandemic hiatus as well as the lack of high school and club development.  We look forward to learning our opponents strengths.”
  • What are the challenges they expect with the season.  “We have a highly athletic and versatile young group, and most athletes have never played together before.  Finding where every puzzle piece fits the best will take some time.”
  • What are the team goals, expectations for the upcoming season /looking forward to.  “We have a few key athletes who refuse to lose.  So winning will definitely be a team goal. Personally, I would like to see the first years putting more power behind their attacks and making out-of-system scenarios in to in-system attacks. I also hope for our veteran players to enjoy their final seasons with us.”
  • Who is your team captains this year.  Renée Desroches (Setter), Chloe Friesen (Middle), Lauren Ens (Libero)
  • A comment/quote from team captain  “After having a forced break from the court it’s safe to say that our team is more eager than ever to play again and win together. You can feel the excitement mounting whether Jayme announces a scrimmage or simply starts practice. This joy for the game makes us a hard working team and I’m excited to see how we will compete come time for league play.” – Lauren Ens
  • “I am really excited to be back on the court playing competitive volleyball in the MCAC after a long break due to the pandemic. What’s even more exciting is becoming a part of the CCAA and having the chance to represent our province for the first time at Nationals! Our team is full of new, talented athletes with a drive to get better every time we step on the court. As a setter, I’m putting in the work to run a fast pace, aggressive offence and to allow my hitters the best opportunity to score.” – Renée Desroches
  • Final comment/quote from the head coach.  “It’s an honour and privilege to work with this motivated, dedicated, kind, and well-rounded group. I hope and believe that our sessions – whether they be of a volleyball, fitness, extra-curricular, or socially engaging nature – are productive and beneficial for every member’s wellness. That is what sport should and can be and I’m grateful that all 22 team members, athletes and coaches alike, are committed to contributing to a holistic journey.  By way of bonus: After over a year of only virtual human contact, I have the pleasure of watching incredible athletes serve aces, make miraculous digs, crush attacks, finish blocks, and soon, win matches.”
  • Assistant coaches.  Nicola Dirks. Fitness Coach – Former U of Winnipeg left side and CIS All-Canadian Team; Mackenzie Hildebrand. Assistant Coach – Former CMU athlete and champion on men’s volleyball (Left Side) and soccer (Goalie). 2019 CMU Male Athlete of the Year; Christie Nairn. Assistant Coach – Former U of Winnipeg Wesmen Left Side and Middle; Charisse Cyr. Indigenous Coach Apprentice – Former U of Winnipeg Setter; Megan Ross. Young Coach Apprentice – Former Setter

Providence University College (PUC) Pilots

Head coach: Kyle Guenther, entering 5th year as the head coach

Keys for the team: 

Key Additions: Amanda Bergen (Setter), Tyra Peters (Outside), Annika Ritchot (Middle)

Key Returnee: There are 11 returning with a great core back this year.

Key Losses: Katy Warkentine (Middle)

Number of total team members to start the season: 14 roster players

Record and MCAC championship history: 

2019 MCAC regular season record and placing: 8-12; 3rd place in regular season; Lost in the semi-finals to CMU in four sets

Last MCAC championship: 2017-18

Total MCAC championships (since 2000-01): 6 (2005-06, 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2015-16, 2017-18)

Season Preview with head coach comments: 

  • How is team/coach dealing with transition back into play after a year of not playing at this level.  “We are fortunate to have experience on the team that can help with returning back to competition. The excitement is evident but nerves will be the challenge in the early going of the season. Not looking too far ahead and focusing on the moment will key for our group.”
  • What games does the coach look forward to most. “Having our home games in the new Niverville facility, we are pumped for our home opener.”
  • What games does the coach feel will be a challenge and/or circled on the calendar.  “Not knowing our competition after being off last year, I’m looking forward to competing against all the teams and seeing where we stand in the league.”
  • What does the coach expect from the League this year (i.e. competition, teams to watch for, etc.).  “I expect everyone to be competitive this season. On any given night, I believe all four teams have the ability to compete well and win matches.”
  • What are the challenges they expect with the season.  “Staying healthy will be the key to our success this year. It’s a long and grinding season and being able to keep a healthy roster is always difficult.”
  • What are the team goals, expectations for the upcoming season /looking forward to.  “The easy answer is that we are looking forward to competing again. Our goal is to be competitive every night. We hope to find chemistry early and hit the regular season in good form.”
  • Who is your team captains this year.  Maddie Fehr (Left Side), Jordan Moyer (Right Side), Taylor Evans (Libero)
  • A comment/quote from team captain.  “After not being able to compete for a year, we are ready to get back on the court this season. We are really excited to call the new Niverville facility our home where we will get to battle together as a team. In our first year in the CCAA, we are looking forward to working hard and achieving our goals we have set for ourselves.” – Maddie Fehr
  • Final comment/quote from the head coach.  “I am really looking forward to the season with this team. This is a great character group with a lot of potential. It will be fun and exciting to compete again. Having the carrot of CCAA Nationals at the end of the season is the cherry on top heading into this season.”

Université de Saint-Boniface (USB) Les Rouges

Head coach: Evan Turenne, entering 4th year as the head coach

Keys for the team: 

Key Additions: 8 first year athletes. Valeria Gonzalez (Left Side), Michelle Préjet (Middle)

Key Returnee: Sam Lemoine (Setter), Brielle Grenier (Middle)

Key Losses: none provided

Number of total team members to start the season: 14 roster players

Record and MCAC championship history: 

2019 MCAC regular season record and placing: 17-3; 1st place in regular season; Lost championship final over CMU in three sets

Last MCAC championship: 2002-03

Total MCAC championships (since 2000-01): 3 (2000-01, 2001-02, 2002-03)

Season Preview with head coach comments: 

  • How is team/coach dealing with transition back into play after a year of not playing at this level.  “It’s been a progressive return to play with high repetitions in training. Having lost a year, there are that many more athletes who have not played at this level before, so there was a big emphasis on culture building.”
  • What games does the coach look forward to most. “The season opener versus CMU because it has been too long without competition. We are just excited to get back to competing.”
  • What games does the coach feel will be a challenge and/or circled on the calendar.  “Also the season opener since it will be such a new experience for so many of the athletes. There is also a game circled on February 27.”
  • What does the coach expect from the League this year (i.e. competition, teams to watch for, etc.).  “For the past few years there has not been an easy game or opponent and we expect much of the same this year. Expect teams to have to show up to play for each and every match as the league should have lots of parity.”
  • What are the challenges they expect with the season.  “A challenge will be the uncertain circumstances due to the pandemic. Another challenge will be managing our own line-ups as there is a lot of depth on the roster.”
  • What are the team goals, expectations for the upcoming season /looking forward to.  “Our expectation is to compete in every game we play and not give any team anything easy. We are looking forward to seeing the young team develop over the course of the season.”
  • Please name a key performer for this upcoming year and why.  Brielle Grenier and Bendu Dukuly (both Middle) –  “They are both in their last season with the team and will be playing with their hearts on their sleeve.”
  • Who is your team captains this year.  Sam Lemoine (Setter) and Brielle Grenier (Middle)
  • A comment/quote from team captain.  “Looking forward to getting back on the court for one last year and can’t wait to pass on my team spirit to my teammates and help us develop as a team.” – Brielle Grenier
  • “Eager to get back on the court to play the game we all love and to get our community back in our gym. My mindset going into this season is to work hard and enjoy every moment because eligibility doesn’t last forever!” – Sam Lemoine
  • Final comment/quote from the head coach.  “It’s been amazing to be in the gym again after a long layoff, especially working with such a great group of people. We have a different look than in the past with so many new athletes and coaches, and I am really excited to work with this group that has so much depth and potential.”