HISTORY IN THE MAKING!
Our Canada Games indoor women’s volleyball team had some extra luggage to bring home from Winnipeg- a BRONZE MEDAL. This medal is representative of the best ever finish for a New Brunswick volleyball team at the games. Not to mention, Nova Scotia (men’s program) is the only other Atlantic province to accomplish this feat in 1985.
The women’s team finished pool play ranked third in their pool with a 3-2 record. This matched them up with our maritime neighbors, Nova Scotia (NS), in the quarterfinals. New Brunswick (NB) rallied by a tough attacking team to defeat NS 3-1. This directed NB into a semifinal match against Alberta. Despite being down for the majority of the first and second set, Alberta managed to claw their way back and they took the match 3-0. When asked about the loss Jessie Robichaud, NB’s standout libero, acknowledged it was upsetting but said they had to keep it out of mind as they prepared for the impending bronze medal match- “We were ready to play and fight hard to get that bronze medal”. And that they were! NB came out with a dominating start, taking the first set 26-24. The second set saw the ladies show some heart as they scraped back from an 11-1 hole to drop the match 23-25. The third and fourth set followed similar pattern- big swings, bigger blocks, gritty defense and tough serving. NB took the third set 25-14 while Ontario stole the fourth 19-25. The fifth set followed suit, battling point for point, until Eliza Druart stepped back to serve at 14-13. Druart unloaded on a serve to end the game on an ace. Robichaud describes the final moments of the match as “one of the greatest moments of her life- I had tears of joy coming out”. What better way to describe it- pure joy. It was one of those moments that will resonate with coaches, athletes, and spectators both in the gym and at home, for years to come.
Head coach Monette Boudreau Carroll, a decorated and well-respected USports coach, said that while this was an incredible moment, it was one that was in the cards for this group “You work your whole career to figure out how to make a plan, have the athletes buy in and execute it. This cycle, it happened. If anyone was surprised by these results, it wasn’t us… we knew the road might be tougher and it might look a little different, but we knew we belonged there”.
The team has since returned home and has disembarked on their separate paths. For athletes Telia Gaudet, Nikki Jamieson, Bailey Lemieux, Courtney Hillier, Jessie Robichaud, Terrie Robichaud and Bethany Smith, this means prepping for their upcoming university seasons. Hillier, who will commence her studies at UBC in the fall, summarized her experience eloquently “We have been training together for 18 months, and this made it all worth it. This was a perfect way to cap off my NB volleyball experience before heading into university”. The remainder of the squad- Eliza Druart, Lauryn Colpitts, Sarah Glynn, Joanie Arsenault, and Sara Chaisson will now play on opposite sides of the net as they head into their final seasons of club volleyball.
Finally, we at Volleyball New Brunswick would like to congratulate the coaches and support staff- Monette, Mike and Lauren, manager- Pin, and the athletes for this incredible success. The time and commitment that you graciously donated to establish and execute this process does not go unnoticed. We thank you for lighting the fire and inspiring the younger generation of volleyballers ☺
Stay tuned for more Canada Games updates!
Photos- (Fran Harris/Team NB)