The Brandon University Bobcats hope to have a pair of New Zealanders in the lineup this season, but immigration paperwork is holding up the process.
Bobcats women’s volleyball coach Lee Carter travelled to New Zealand this summer and recruited Kiwi national team members Vaovai Aiono, 20, and Margaret Lafaele, 23.
The pair have registered at BU, but have yet to secure student visas, with training camp less than a week away.
Carter remains cautiously optimistic that they will get the required documentation in time, although if that process is delayed the newcomers may not be eligible to join the team until the winter semester.
“We’re excited about Margy and Vaovai, the possibility of them coming, but they don’t have their visas in place yet … so we’re not 100 per cent sure they are going to be here,” Carter said Tuesday.
“They are accepted into school and they have their courses registered, but they might not be allowed into the country until they get their student visas. … It’s in the process, but it’s just hit-and-miss on when it’s going to get done. They are scheduled to arrive on September 7, if everything goes well.”
The New Zealand natives would join German star Donata Huebert — a former CIS libero of the year — to give the Bobcats three imports.
Both Aiono and Lafaele are athletic left-side players that Carter says have huge upside.
“The two girls are very good volleyball players, but they have never trained at the level of a university team or a professional team,” Carter said. “... We believe they could be very good players for us.”
Aiono will rejoin the New Zealand national team on Sept. 27 for a week to compete in an Asian qualifier for the next world championship, while the Bobcats head to Winnipeg that weekend to take part in their first pre-season tournament. The Bobcats, who have nine veterans back and five new recruits, begin the Canada West season on Oct. 25 against the Regina Cougars at BU’s Healthy Living Centre.
The Brandon University Bobcats’ recruiting class of 2013:
Mikee Dosado (5-10, G, Vanier College, Pierrefonds, Que.)
Theo Farough (6-2, G, Neelin High School, Brandon)
Ryan Hawley (6-2, G, Garden City Collegiate, Winnipeg)
Isaak Stark (5-10, G, Neelin High School, Brandon)
Aleah Bridges (5-5, G, Contra Costa College, Berkeley, Calif.)
Cassie Cooke (5-9, G, Cape Breton U., Westminster, Md.)
Shonté Devernichuk (5-9, G, Kitsilano Secondary, Vancouver)
Stephanie Hunter (6-2, F, Crocus Plains, Brandon)
Caitlin Lennon (5-8, G, Windsor Park Collegiate, Winnipeg)
Kinsley Ransom (6-0, F, Boisssevain School, Boissevain)
Keegan Robinson (5-10, G, Hamiota Collegiate, Hamiota)
Amy Williams (6-1, F, Peacock Collegiate, Moose Jaw, Sask.)
Jared Friesen (6-3, LS, Vincent Massey, Brandon)
Mack Mravnik (6-6, S, Westgate Volleyball Club, Brandon)
Joel Makara (6-1, LS, Selkirk Regional, Selkirk)
Liam Matheson (6-3, LS, Otumoetai College, Tauranga, N.Z.)
Ty Moorman (6-7, M, Penticton Secondary, Penticton, B.C.)
Daven Pascal (6-7, M, Vincent Massey, Brandon)
Vaovai Aiono (5-11, LS, New Zealand national team, Auckland)
Regan Dahl (6-0, LS, Grande Prairie Composite, Alta.)
Savannah Guttman (5-11, S, Dauphin Regional, Dauphin)
Donata Huebert (5-10, Lib, Saint-Raphaël, Minden, Germany)
Margaret Lafaele (5-10, LS, Otara Volleyball, Auckland, N.Z.)
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 28, 2013