© Jason Malloy/The Guardian
Meg MacKinnon, Olivia Dolphin
Sydney Foy is the only member of the Holland College Hurricanes who has been to the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) women’s volleyball championship.
That changes tonight when the eighth-seeded Hurricanes play top-ranked Elans de Garneau at 6 p.m. Holland College is hosting the eight-team tournament at its Charlottetown campus.
“The blocks are going to be big, the plays are going to be long and we’re going to have to fight for every point we go for,” Foy said before Monday’s practice. “We have to be ready physically, but also mentally.”
Foy said the main difference from conference play is the speed picks up and the women are taller.
“We’re very good defensively,” she said. “Offensively, we are short, but we can jump.”
Foy went to nationals her first two years of eligibility with the Mount Saint Vincent Mystics. She transferred to Holland College last year and has been apart of turning the team around.
The Hurricanes went 18-3 in regular season play and lost a five-set Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA) final to the Mystics.
“We didn’t win the championship, but we have this second chance to show and prove to everyone that we are capable of being at the national level,” Foy said. “We went from last place to championship material in two years, which is huge.”
Garneau, led by explosive duo of Maud Chapleau and Anne-Sophie Tanguay, lost in five sets in last year’s gold-medal match with Red Deer.
Foy, who dyed her hair for the tournament, said the Hurricanes will play hard and aren’t conceding anything against the pre-tournament favourites.
“I think it’s going to help us,” she said. “We have nothing to lose.”
The last Maritime team to medal at the tournament was Mount Saint Vincent in 1985.
The Mystics are back this year as the ACAA champs and are ranked seventh. Christina Day leads them against second-seeded Humber Hawks at 1 p.m. today.
Teams arrived late Tuesday night, had private practices on Wednesday and a banquet in the evening.
Holland College had its last practice Wednesday at 8 a.m.
“The excitement is starting to grow,” said head coach Lori-Beth Dwyer. “They’re excited and the coaching staff is excited, so we’re just anxious to get started.”
She said they would see a faster offence than it is used to in league play and it would have to make the adjustment quickly.
While it will take a team effort to compete with the country’s best, Dwyer said it would need strong play from Foy, setter Gracie Ferguson, who was named the ACAA rookie of the year, and libero Dana Trainor.
The team is also hoping for a large turnout tonight to give them a boost.
“Our team, especially, they feed off the energy of the crowd,” Dwyer said. “They love when there’s a loud gym.”
The Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association women’s volleyball championship starts today in Charlottetown. The following is today’s quarter-final matchups. Teams seedings are in parenthesis.
1 p.m. - Humber Hawks (2) vs. Mount Saint Vincent Mystics (7).
3 p.m. - Briercrest Clippers (3) vs. Vancouver Island University Mariners (6).
6 p.m. - Garneau Elans (1) vs. Holland College Hurricanes (8).
8 p.m. - College Of The Rockies Avalanche vs. The King’s Eagles (5).
The past 10 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association champs:
2015 Red Deer College
2014 Red Deer College
2013 University of the Fraser Valley
2012 Vancouver Island University
2011 Mount Royal University
2010 University of British Columbia Okanagan
2009 University of British Columbia Okanagan
2008 Malaspina University College
2007 MacEwan College
2006 College Francois-Xavier-Garneau