Brandon Bobcat left side Shanlee McLennan had 22 kills and one ace for Manitoba’s under-19 women’s volleyball in the National Team Challenge Cup final in Winnipeg on Sunday to lead the team to a national championship.
Manitoba — which also features Brandon’s Laura Popplestone and Mary Thomson and is coached by Brandon’s Derek Richels and Bobcat assistant coach Becky Young — came back from a 2-0 deficit to beat Ontario Red 3-2 (18-25, 22-25, 25-17, 25-22, 15-10) in the final.
McLennan had 29 kills in Manitoba’s 3-1 (25-21, 25-21, 23-25, 25-14) semifinal victory over British Columbia Red and was named tournament MVP. The squad reached the semifinals by finishing 2-1 in its second-round group.
Richels said his team benefited a lot from its depth during the five-day event.
“They’ve had good coaching throughout the way and their careers and when you add someone like a Shanlee McLennan and a Mary Thomson and Laura Popplestone — the Westman or BU connections — it adds a little depth to the team,” he said. “They showed maturity on the court all week and at the end of the day, that’s what prevailed for us.”
Manitoba’s under-18 team — which featured Brandon’s Courtney Roberts, Jodie Baker, Gillian Leech and Carmen Hutsal as well as Shoal Lake’s Natasha Rupa — beat Saskatchewan’s U18 squad 3-2 (22-25, 25-20, 20-25, 25-9, 16-14) to finish seventh at the women’s NTCC. Manitoba’s U18 squad, which is coached by Killarney’s Lisa Nichol, went 0-3 in its second-round group before beating Nova Scotia in its consolation semifinal.
Baker, who finished second in the tournament for blocks, was recruited to join Canada’s national junior women’s volleyball team. Scouts use the NTCC to pick players for the national junior team, which will compete in the American Volleyball High Performance tournament in Des Moines, Iowa, from Tuesday to Sunday.
The team will then come back to train in Winnipeg until Aug. 20.
Meanwhile, Manitoba’s under-20 boys team finished fifth at the men’s NTCC in Gatineau, Que.
Manitoba, which features Souris’ Brett Young and Brandon University Bobcat David Stasica, beat B.C. Blue in the fifth-place match on Sunday. The squad dropped to the consolation side of the bracket after losing 3-0 (29-27, 28-26, 25-15) to Ontario Black on Saturday, which dropped it to 1-2 and third place in its second-round group. Manitoba then beat Nova Scotia in a consolation semifinal to reach the fifth-place match.
» Brandon Sun
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 23, 2012