Hope Schneider is coming home.
The 20-year-old Brandonite is transferring from the University of Winnipeg to Brandon University to play for the Bobcats women’s volleyball team this fall.
The Crocus Plainsmen graduate and former starting setter with the Winnipeg Wesmen is expected to play a backup role with the Bobcats along with redshirt freshman setter Savannah Guttman of Dauphin, playing behind projected starter Mary Thomson. It’s a role Schneider said she is happy to fill.
"I’m really looking forward to it," Schneider said via telephone from Winnipeg. "I’ve got lots of friends and family back home and I know what the situation is and I’m happy to play whatever role is required."
The 5-foot-7 Schneider helped lead the Plainsmen to an appearance in the provincial AAAA high school final in 2011 in her Grade 12 season. She then quickly found herself thrust into a starting role in her rookie season in the Canada West conference in 2012-13 when setter Brittany Habing left the Wesmen. This past season, the Wesmen turned to Ellina Domnidou and rookie Natasha Rupa of Shoal Lake to handle setting duties and Schneider decided to take the year off from volleyball, but is happy to return with her hometown team.
"When Hope approached us about coming back, we were excited about the possibility," said Bobcats coach Lee Carter, who was recently named CIS women’s coach of the year. "She’s a local player, a Crocus Plains graduate and someone who knows many of our players well and she will be a good fit for us. … She knows what her role will be and will give us some experience and depth at the position, along with Mary and Savannah moving forward here."
Thomson, entering her third year of eligibility, is slated to take over as starting setter from fellow Brandonite Kellie Baker, who completed her five-year career this season after helping lead the Bobcats to a second-place 17-5 record and the No.2 ranking in the country.
"I have known Mary for years and she has worked hard for this opportunity and she is a great setter and I’m happy to support her in any way I can," Schneider said.
Schneider will be back in Brandon this weekend to sign her letter of intent and is working on transferring her courses to finish her geography degree at BU.
"I found I was returning to Brandon a lot of weekends anyways, so I figured if I could play for BU, that would be a great situation for me," she said. "So I am happy that Lee is giving me a second chance to play at the CIS level and I’m looking forward to joining the team."
Schneider comes from a well-known athletic family, with brother Dustin a setter with the national men’s volleyball team and currently playing professionally overseas, while her other brother Mark is a former Brandon Wheat Kings defenceman who now suits up for the Regina Cougars. Her father Ken is a former Wheat Kings captain who coached the Brandon Midget AAA Wheat Kings.
Schneider is the second Brandonite to return home to join the Bobcats, along with middle Courtney Roberts, who is transfering from NCAA’s South Dakota State University Jackrabbits. This year’s Bobcat recruiting class also features a trio of high school standouts in Neelin Spartans libero Jamie Campbell as well as left side Nikki Majewski and middle Sara Barker of Winnipeg.