Edmonton has a history of being a “big event” city. That is not an insult, it is a compliment as it means when a significant concert or sporting event comes to the capital city, the citizens come out in droves. Here is your next big event Edmonton, the 2019 Women’s Volleyball Championship. Hosted by our University of Alberta Pandas, action begins on Friday at the Saville Community Sports Centre and concludes next Sunday with the championship final at 6PM local time. All games will be live streamed at USPORTS.LIVE. Here is the opening day schedule:
Friday, Mar. 15 (Quarterfinals)
No. 1 Trinity Western vs. No. 8 UBC, 1:00 pm MST
No. 4 Dalhousie vs. No. 5 Montreal, 2:30 pm MST
No. 2 Toronto vs. No. 7 Alberta, 6:30 pm MST
No. 3 Calgary vs. No. 6 Ryerson, 8:00 pm MST
Here are the vital stats about an University of Alberta Pandas team heading into the 2019 U SPORTS Women’s Volleyball Championship seeded 7th:
No. 7 Alberta Pandas
Playoff Finish: Canada West semifinalists / hosts
Regular Season/playoff records: 18-6 / 2-3
Last U SPORTS Championship: 2007
Total U SPORTS Championships: 7
Kills per set: Kory White, 4.45
Blocks per set: Vanessa Jarman, 0.96
Assists per set: Mariah Walsh, 10.50
Digs per set: Julia Zonneveld, 3.88
Three big questions here. The first is by a few readers wondering why we are talking about volleyball. That answer is easy. Volleyball includes every aspect of athleticism deserving your respect - grit, fearlessness, and teamwork. There are no weak links on the court at this level. Everyone can serve the ball with pinpoint accuracy and everyone can dive in front of a serve and keep the ball in play.
The second big question, I was allowed to ask members of the Pandas. The question was “playing at home in a tournament where you are seeded 7th, how do you keep your focus on the cliche of one point at a time?”.
Kory White, the Pandas kills per set leader responded:
“The teams that have qualified for Nationals are some of the best volleyball programs throughout Canada. Regardless of their seeding, every team is quite equal in their skills and brings a different strength and style of volleyball to the court. Every point at Nationals is very crucial. You don’t get another chance to play that team again tomorrow as it’s one game, one opportunity. It is important to keep our focus point to point by not planning the play ahead, predicting an outcome, or worried about a previous error. You have to live in the moment when you are on the court, and if you are fully engaged then it will always be played one point at a time.”
Pandas Assistant coach Carolyn O’Dwyer response wonderfully shows that the message being preached to the players is being taken to heart:
“Being the 7th seed is not something that we are unfamiliar with as a team, we were seeded 7th at last years national championship so we are pretty comfortable there. In order for us to focus on “one point at a time” it is important that we stay in the moment (which has been a mantra for us all year), soak in and enjoy the experience of hosting a national championship, and keep our focus on what we can control and not fixate on the outcome. “
The last big questions is “how do we buy tickets”? Click HERE for that information. Go Pandas Go!