Capers vol­ley­ballers head into cham­pi­onship to­day at Saint Mary’s

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - BY T.J. COLELLO CAPE BRE­TON POST tj­colello@cb­

SYD­NEY — Kris­ten Ryan’s third sea­son as a mem­ber of the Cape Bre­ton Uni­ver­sity Capers has in­cluded a first all-star team se­lec­tion and now the top award as libero of the year in the con­fer­ence.

But winning an At­lantic Uni­ver­sity Sport women’s volleyball ban­ner is the main goal as the club en­ters play to­day at Saint Mary’s Uni­ver­sity in Hal­i­fax. They chal­lenge the Uni­ver­sity of New Brunswick Var­sity Reds in the quar­ter-fi­nal tonight at 8 p.m.

“ We’ve been say­ing that from the beginning, this is def­i­nitely the year that we can put one of those ban­ners up on that wall,” said the 20-year-old from Port Hast­ings.

Ryan is the first CBU ath­lete to be named the AUS’ top libero since the award was es­tab­lished in 1999-00. She was sec­ond in the con­fer­ence in digs at an av­er­age of 4.90 per game.

“I’m pretty happy with this year, it’s def­i­nitely one of my best years since I’ve been here,” she said. “But that’s just be­cause of my team­mates as well. We’ve grown closer as a team and this is def­i­nitely our best year since I’ve been here.”

The Capers, who fin­ished fifth in the stand­ings with a 6-12 record, have been suc­cess­ful in the quar­ter-fi­nal round of the AUS cham­pi­onship. They’ve ad­vanced to the semi­fi­nals the last two years, but have failed to reach the cham­pi­onship game.

Head coach Claude Lapré said with the reg­u­lar sea­son re­sults be­ing all over the place, it’ll be any­one’s tour­na­ment to win.

“(UNB) has a huge block, they’re the big­gest team in the league and we have to be a lit­tle bit more con­sis­tent on of­fence in the sense of stay­ing ag­gres­sive even if you get re­jected,” he said. “ We’ve tended to be on our heels a bit, con­cede a lit­tle bit too much and take off and be timid in our of­fence af­ter be­ing blocked.

“If we can stay ag­gres­sive at the net, we’ll have a good shot at the match.”

Cather­ine Thorn­ton of the St. Fran­cis Xavier X-Women was named the AUS most valu­able player, Thurs­day, while Meg Rec­tor of the Aca­dia Ax­e­women was named top rookie and XWomen head coach Michelle Au­coin was named coach of the year. Jil­lian Blan­chard of UNB won the award for com­mu­nity ser­vice.

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T.J. Colello - Cape Bre­ton Post

Kris­ten Ryan of the Cape Bre­ton Uni­ver­sity Capers volleyball team prac­tises with her team at Sul­li­van Field House, Thurs­day. The squad was pre­par­ing for the 2010 Sub­way At­lantic Uni­ver­sity Sport Women’s Volleyball Cham­pi­onship hosted by Saint Mary’s Uni­ver­sity, beginning to­day. The fol­low­ing is the sched­ule for the 2010 Sub­way At­lantic Uni­ver­sity Sport Women’s Volleyball Cham­pi­onship hosted by Saint Mary’s Uni­ver­sity, beginning to­day:

To­day Quar­ter-fi­nals 6 p.m. - Aca­dia (3rd) vs. Dal­housie (6th) 8 p.m. - UNB (4th) vs. Cape Bre­ton (5th)

Satur­day Semi­fi­nals 4:30 p.m. - St. Fran­cis Xavier (1st) Low­est Re­main­ing Seed 7 p.m. - Saint Mary’s (2nd) vs. High­est Re­main­ing Seed

Sun­day 2 p.m. - Cham­pi­onship* *The AUS cham­pion will ad­vance to the 2010 CIS Women’s Volleyball Cham­pi­onship, March 5-7, at the Uni­ver­sity of Al­berta.

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