Carmen Hutsal (left) hammers a kill for WVC in their weekend tournament. (BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN)
Carmen Hutsal played in the shadow of Gillian Leech for Vincent Massey’s varsity girls high school volleyball team last season.
That shadow will be gone next season as Leech joins the Brandon University Bobcats and there will be high expectations for Hutsal to be the Vikings’ primary offensive weapon as she tries to attract the attention of university coaches.
"I think Brandon knows she’s going to fill that role," said Lisa Nichol, who coaches the Westman Volleyball Club that featured Hutsal at left side in the 17U girls tournament that they hosted on the weekend at Crocus Plains and New Era schools.
"She’s going to be a dominant force for Massey next year, whether they play her right side or left side, she’ll put up the most kills for them. She’s also had a lot of schools look at her and she’ll go to a big school, too."
The big question surrounding the 5-foot-11 Grade 11 student is what position she will play.
Hutsal, who played on the 15U and 16U provincial teams the past two years, played right side for Massey. She enjoys playing on both sides of the net and is torn a bit on what position she would like to play.
"I kind of like them both," Hutsal said. "Left side tends to get set up more, but right side is a little easier to hit out of and I like the fact I can pass when I play left side."
The only reason Hutsal plays left side in club play is because there isn’t another big hitter on WVC to fill that position.
Otherwise Nichol, who coached Hutsal on both provincial teams, would play the 16-year-old left-hander at right side, where she believes Hutsal is more effective.
"She’s a tall girl so she can put up a nice right-side block for us, but with this dynamic we don’t have another big swinger like her that we can consistently set the ball to on the left side," Nichol said.
"If we had another big left side, we would put her front row right side and I don’t know a lot of teams who would be able to stop her right-side attack."
Hutsal is hoping to help her club team take a run at provincials this year and she hopes to make Manitoba’s team that will compete at the National Team Challenge Cup, but she isn’t looking too much further than that for her volleyball career right now.
She’s just excited for her final year of high school volleyball to start in the fall.
"I’m just looking forward to playing with all the girls my age," Hutsal said. "We’ve been playing together for five or six years now and I think we could be really good for varsity now that’s we’re in Grade 12."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition April 17, 2012