Kira Tome has emerged as the leader and captain of this team. Photo: Remi Yuan.
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Fifth-year file will outline the career of a graduating athlete who will soon retire the garnet and grey. These seniors have all had an impact on advancing varsity athletics in their time at the University of Ottawa.

Women’s volleyball setter Kira Tome has been a Gee-Gee since 2013. In that time she has played a pivotal role in helping her team finish second in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) twice, and fifth at the national championship in 2015.

Head coach Lionel Woods remembers recruiting Tome straight out of high school in 2012.

“She’s finishing her fifth (year), but it’s actually only been four with us. We wish it had been five,” said Woods. “There was actually a school strike, high school strike, that year so she had no marks. So we couldn’t get her in.”

Tome’s first year as a varsity athlete took place at the University of the Fraser Valley, which competes in the Canadian College Athletics Association. That year they won the national championship, and Tome was named MVP of the national championship tournament.

The next year she joined the Gee-Gees, stepping in immediately and playing a key role on the team as they went 14–5, finishing second in the OUA.

“That first year she was in (a) high-pressure situation with a team that was winning and that was tough for a rookie,” said Woods. “I thought she went through that year really as well as anybody could.”

Tome credits Woods and the team with helping her to get through the difficult transition.

“I lived in B.C. so it was a really big change and I hated it the first couple of months,” said Tome. “I just really relied on Lionel (Woods) and the team and they’ve helped me grow into a mature person.”

The next year the team went 16–3, and finished fifth at the national tournament. Tome finished second in the country with 9.91 assist per set.

The 2015–16 season was one of transition for the women’s volleyball team. They lost their two premier offensive weapons in sisters Myriam and Kelsie English, and had to rely on a number of young, inexperienced players to generate offense.

As a result, the team’s overall performance took a dip, as did Tome’s personal stats. However, this year they’re on the rise again, as the team around her continues to improve and gain valuable experience.

This year, Tome is demonstrating her ability to be a versatile player, contributing both offensively and defensively. A left-handed hitter, Tome is averaging a career-high 1.22 kills per set this season, a very good mark considering she spends most of the time setting up her teammates.

Tome has also been pitching more defensively, posting career-highs in digs per set with 3.04 and blocks per set with 0.55.

Tome feels the team has helped her to grow and mature as a person.

“Over the last four years I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs,” said Tome. “It’s crazy how much you change in five years and not even notice it really.”

But Tome brings more than just her skills to the court—she has emerged as the captain and leader of this team.

“She’s just been a leader more and more each year,” said Woods. “Right now she’s our most consistent player day in and day out in the practice gym, in the weight room, and on the competition floor, and I could not ask for a better leader and quarterback for our team right now.”