Well ladies and gents, your trusty bronze-medaled, women's volleyball Spartans are leaving the country. We're off to Paraguay alongside Athletes in Action to help fight poverty and spread God's love. We're using our sport as a platform as we're helping in orphanages, food stations, and whatever else God calls us to do. Our team is leaving April 26th and returning on May 9th, and this is where we'll be documenting all of our experiences and thoughts. Enjoy!

Monday, 8 October 2012

Game 5 - Colombia

sept 7
Even though the events of the days are getting more habitual (predictable meals, predictable transport, an acquisition for the paparazzis), the games continue to host our excitement. Every day is a new opponent, holding a new flag and singing a new song, and we are expected to perform at our peak regardless. Welcome to international volleyball, I guess!
Today it was our chance to face the red, yellow, and blue: Colombia (yes, that's with an 'o' not a 'u'). Since it's our fifth game in as well as their's, we had a small opportunity to collect stats and do our best at creating a plausible game plan. In it, we had decided that beating this team was do-able if we performed consistent. If we could bounce back and be resilient in the face of a defeating loss against Argentina.
And beat them we did. With close sets the entire match, the game boiled down to minimizing errors and improving defensively. With Amy Ott leading Team Canada in both kills and blocks, and Kristen Moncks patrolling the back row with leading digs, the team worked as a cohesive unit. The ghost of recent losses had no chance of haunting us as we fought hard with respect to our university and our country. With 11 blocks to Colombia's 4, we were a miniature version of a Canadian wall.

With Spanish in the ears and Maple Leafs on the mind, we defeated Colombia 25-23, 25-23, and 25-20. Because of the win, we move on to fight against Cuba for 5th place tomorrow. Wish us luck!

Game 3 - Costa Rica

sept 5
This post will be quick, just like our game against CRC. In under 70 minutes, the Trinity Western Spartans as Team Canada dominated the much shorter and younger Costa Rican team. The first two sets were slow to start, with both the technical timeouts initiated by the Costa Ricans. Slowly, though, Team Canada played its notorious game of catch-up and began to use their height + speed to their advantage. With leading kills from Carly Hamilton and Royal Richardson, Canada took control of the remainder of the sets and games. CRC's poor passing and inability to sideout killed much of the energy they had on and off the court. The score of the first set was 25-16. With Kelci French out due to illness, Lauren Moncks led the team with her nationally-trained skills to a 25-15 win.
After leading much of the intensity and wins, the third set saw the Canadian bench on the court. Chelsea Wand, Casie Gano, and Amber Brown stepped in and contributed great energy and fresh volleyball perspectives. We captured the third, and the game, with a 25-18 score.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Game 2 - Peru

sept 4
The crowd was crammed in, unintentionally huddled together from the winter wind. It spoke a language of drumbeats and collective movement. Peru was in the audience today. The national anthem was a cohesive love song, and it began the trend of screaming Spanish words and chanting country names. We were not in our own house, or anywhere near it for that matter. We had to create our own home + comfort.
The first set felt foreign, and we as a team struggled to be cohesive. Passes that should have been dimed were shanked, and hits found their way to the magnetic field of the outside of the court. There was a clear struggle that killed the energy and and hinted at showing the white flag of surrender. The score finaled at a total of 25-15.

The next set, however, we held our heads up and snubbed off the memory of any unforced errors we had. The crowd no longer held our confidence in their hands; we decided to take it back and hold it in our own hands. It was a game of tug-of-war between our white jerseys and the Peruvian flags in the crowd. There were fights at the net, as we began to respond to their heavy-hitting offense with some massive blocks; Perrin getting us 17 touches and Royal blocking 13. As our hands were pushed into their faces over the net, our aggressiveness began to get pushed onto them. We ended the set with some unfortunate missed serves over 20, and the score finished in Peru´s favour at 25-21.

The second set continued with the same energy, and both teams brought in momentum from the previous set to feed their desire to win. During this set I believe Team Canada achieved its motto of playing free. Our ability to sideout during this set is what kept us alive and challenging both ourselves and the home team. Kelci French ran our offense like clockwork, using the precision and confidence she brings to ensure every hitter was playing at their best. Nearing the end of the third set, the match was point-for-point volleyball; even the concession men stopped their sales and were only concerned about the game. Despite the battle, Peru stole the set at 26-24.

The fourth set was the same story as the past two sets. There was fight; there was desire; there was drive; but ultimately we made just a few more mistakes than the opposing side. Our job of representing the country was done well as we continued to bully Peru into playing their utmost, put up blocks the size of Cuba, and played an incredible match of volleyball. Kristen Moncks in all her defensive glory shone with 12 digs, and limbs that simply flew in any direction the ball was going. During this game we truly proved to ourselves that we as a team can compete at an international level and that Canada is not to be underestimated. The fourth and final set landed in the Peruvian´s laps, at 25-22. The crowd, of course, left the building dancing. We know our time to dance will come soon.

Also - I´m trying to post pictures so please have patience with the internet here!

Monday, 3 September 2012

Game 1 - Dominican Republic

A game day draw change had Canada´s opening pool play against the Dominican Republic, ranked 2nd only to Brazil. Several Olympic veterans who recently returned from London starred for the Dominican side, including the top ranked libero of London 2012. The first two sets went comfortably to the Dominicans. The Canadians showed their heart by pushing the Dominicans into playing top level volleyball, not properly represenetd by the scores of the first two sets. Continuing to build momentum in the third set, Canada hit hard, served tough, and dug deep for key up´s in the back court. Consistently big and solid, Canada´s block, along with some big kills and improved serving, kept a close third set very exciting. With a score of 25-20 for Dominicana, the third set truly could have gone either way. This Canadian team knew coming in that there would be adversity, knew the Dominican team would be strong, and unexpected variables (like a draw change) must almost be expected. A lot of team work and effort on behalf of Canada resulted in some great volleyball the team and country be proud of.

Sunday, 2 September 2012


Another year, yet another South American country that begins with a 'P'. After a few hours suspended on sun + moon beams, we made it to the capital of the Incan nation. Rather than two years ago, our mission on this trip is to glorify God through playing volleyball and representing our country in maple leaf fashion.

Despite the promises that the Weather Network fed to us about sunshine and springtime, Lima is a cloud of grey and claustrophobia. Since we landed at night, our introduction was a taste of both fear and intrigue: street corners were riddled with features of both cacti and scantily clad women; police sirens were the streetlights of the night. During the day, however, Lima has a much cheerier side to her seemingly bipolar personality. The architecture is a mishmash of colonialism and nationalism, with Spanish flavours in the colours, semi-Parisian cafes, and Peruvian statues that line the streets with floating heroic heads.
Above the neighbourhood sits a thick cloud of smog that slowly chews away at the little nature left in the city. We are yet to see the ocean which is reportedly only 4 km from our hotel.

It's difficult to truly know Lima: right now she's a distant figure that we only meet through our car and hotel windows. Our volleyball quarters, however, are absolutely fantastic; complete with barbed wire fences and an unlimited number of turquoise courts. We cannot wait to step foot onto centre court and play beneath the flags of so many countries.

Friday, 13 May 2011


"All of my life,
In every season,
You are still God,
I have a reason to sing,
I have a reason to worship."

- Hillsong