Despite uncertain future, team looks to remain a force in OUA
Photo: Remi Yuan
Since 2010, the Gee-Gees women’s volleyball team has consistently been a playoff team contending on a national level.
During most of that run, the Gees had two bona fide stars in twin sisters Myriam and Kelsie English. The pair led the team to an Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championship in 2013, and appearances in the national championship tournament in the last three seasons.
The English sisters graduated after five years of service on the Gee-Gees squad, but with their departure comes questions for what the volleyball program can do going forward.
Luckily for the team, they return a majority of the contributing pieces on the team including high-level players Kaly Soro, Alix Durivage, and Sabrina Roy.
Head coach Lionel Woods is entering his 27th year with the Gee-Gees program. This year he is adding some serious young talent to the mix, hoping to ensure a strong future for his team.
The veteran coach, along with his recruiting team added a handful of big-time players from the Ottawa area, as well as across the nation. Perhaps the biggest recruit of all was Sihame Doukkali of Morocco. After coming to Canada and attending CÉGEP in Gatineau, Doukkali continued to play for the Moroccan national team and has experience on the world stage.
Regenerating the team with a younger core of players is essential for the future, but the Gee-Gees should still see the benefits in this season.
Fans should be cautiously optimistic about the road ahead. The team has not fared well in preseason action due in part to illness and injury, but an early learning curve has also been a factor.
The team finished fourth in the Pre-Season Classic tournament hosted at Montpetit. Typically the Gee-Gees fare much better. Last year the team was 5-0, winning the tournament.
Unlike last season, it seems the Gees are likely to drop more than three games in the regular season this year. It remains to be seen what this new line-up can achieve this year.
The team has one more exhibition test left before the regular season is underway. The Dalhousie Tigers will make the trek from Halifax for a friendly on Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. A very talented Tigers team will prep the Gee-Gees for their home opener against Queen’s on Oct. 23.