March back in step
Bay Roberts volleyballer plays key role in Sea-Hawks success this season
How does an athlete know they’ve returned completely from a career threatening injury?
Ask Sam March, who plays for the Memorial University SeaHawks women’s volleyball team, and she might say that point came when she could move around the volleyball court without the need for a brace or a tightly wrapped knee.
“In the summer of 2011, I forgot to put on the brace playing defence and it felt good,” said the 22-yearold. “I didn’t know I wasn’t wearing it until I looked at my knee.”
After March tore the medial collateral ligament (MCL), anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and the meniscus in her knee while training for the 2009 Canada Summer Games, she wondered whether she would ever play again at an elite level.
“It’s a slow process and I didn’t think I’d get back,” she said last week. “It was probably one of the toughest periods of my life … to know I wasn’t going to be on the court for over a year was extremely difficult.”
But if anyone has any doubts about her recovery, one only needs to review her stats from the 20112012 Atlantic University Sport (AUS) season.
She ranked among the top-10 in three AUS offensive categories, finishing third in kills with a 3.40 per game average, fourth in points with 243 and eighth in digs with 201.
“Sam may be the best pure athlete in the AUS,” Memorial coach Bill Thistle told Transcontinental Media recently, adding that she “regained her explosiveness” this season.
March said her teammates were a big help in her recovery.
“They helped quite a lot and were very supportive when I suffered the injury,” she said.
March can now tack on secondteam AUS all-star honours to her comeback season.
“It’s exciting and surprising,” said the Bay Roberts native.
In what was definitely the proverbial icing on the cake, March’s Sea-hawks strung together an impressive season and entered the AUS championship tournament Feb. 17-19 as the fifth seed.
“It was pretty exciting,” she said. “No one was disappointed.”
March said the tournament was a “big deal” for her team and the university as a whole.
“It was MUN’S first time sending a team in five years,” she said.
The tournament, which was held at the University of Moncton, opened for the Sea-hawks with a match against No. 4 seeded St. Francis Xavier X-women in the quarter-finals.
MUN downed the X-women 2523, 19-25, 25-20 and 25-23, with March picking up 14 kills.
In the semifinals, the MUN squad squared off with secondseeded Dalhousie Tigers.
The Tigers outlasted the SeaHawks 3-2 in the best-of-five affair, including a 15-4 decision in the deciding encounter. March had 13 kills and 14 digs. “It was a good experience,” said March. “We were in a building year, not a winning year. It felt great.”
With her dad, Derrick, watching from the bench as an assistant coach, March also had a special fan in the stands — her mom Michelle Crocker.
“Seeing her this weekend in Moncton, it brought tears to my eyes,” Crocker said.
Crocker has been with March every step of the way since her initial surgery, when Crocker feared March “would never play again, let
To not only have the opportunity to watch such a high caliber sporting event but also to see Sam back, fully recovered and performing the way she did. Words cannot express how excited and proud I was off her.
Michelle Crocker, mother of MUN volleyballer Sam March
alone be able to jump, hit and block.”
She said it was hard to express how she felt in Moncton watching her daughter in Sea-hawks red.
“To not only have the opportunity to watch such a high calibre sporting event but also to see Sam back, fully recovered and performing the way she did,” said Crocker. “Words cannot express how excited and proud I was of her.”
March, in her third year of physical education studies, still has two years of eligibility remaining, and is excited for the future of her team.
“We have some new players coming in who seem like they are going to be a great addition to our team. Another off-season at the gym will really seal the deal,” she said.
Bay Roberts native Sam March picked up second-team AUS all-star honours after a stellar 2011-2012 season for Memorial University Lady Sea-hawks volleyball team and helped lead her team to an appearance at the AUS championship tournament for the first time in five years.