Coach excited about new recruits

Posted: September 26, 2012

Head coach Nolan Weinmaster is excited about the group of recruits joining the Briercrest women’s volleyball team this fall.

“We have a good group of athletes coming in and they will complement our returning core really well,” Weinmaster said.

The 2011-12 recruiting class includes Elly Wendel (Caronport, SK), Kaylee Dombroski (Edmonton, AB), Angela Wassen (Langley, BC), Starlet Peterson (Weyburn, SK), Whitney Zylstra (Chilliwak, BC), Brooklyn Dyck (Calgary, AB), Erika Cartman (Moose Jaw, SK) and Channelle Friesen (Abbotsford, BC).

Elly Wendel

Elly Wendel is a 6’ 1” left-handed outside hitter from Caronport, SK. The hometown talent will be competing at the rightside position and will be bringing some strength at the net with her attacking and blocking abilities.

She is currently continuing to recover from a torn ACL which was repaired with surgery this past year. Wendel has worked extremely hard at rehabilitating her knee to get ready for the upcoming season and is really looking forward to playing for Briercrest this fall.

“I am mostly looking forward to volleyball, but I am also excited to meet new people,” Wendel said. “Briercrest not only interested me for volleyball, but for spiritual growth as well. I am anxious to see what God has in store for me!”

Despite not being able to play volleyball during her Grade 12 year, Wendel has improved tremendously during her high school career at Caronport, where she was coached by Blake Proudfoot and Shannon Koshman. She also played club volleyball for Lewie Bell with Moose Jaw Element, winning a silver and a bronze medal at club provincials in 2010 and 2011. She also won regionals, placed second in cities, and won a provincial silver medal in 2011 with her CHS team. She was named a tournament all-star, CHS volleyball MVP and CHS Female Athlete of the Year for 2011.

Not being able to compete athletically was tough for Wendel during her Grade 12 year, but she made the most of it, expanding her talents in drama.

“Besides sports, I like to act as well. Seeing as I wasn’t able to play sports this year, I went in our school play, Little Women,” Wendel said.

She was also named the school valedictorian and graduated with high honors.

“Elly will bring us a different element on offense as a talented left-handed hitter who has great height and a good vertical jump,” Weinmaster said. “She will also be a defensive force at the net with her blocking ability. I am excited about working with her and seeing her continue to improve into a great all-around player!”

Kaylee Dombroski

Kaylee Dombroski is a 5’ 7” setter from Edmonton, AB. A great all-around athlete and volleyball player, Dombroski has had success both with indoor and beach volleyball.

Coach Weinmaster is looking for her to bring some depth to the setting position.

“Kaylee is going to bring quickness and agility to our team and is going to compliment Amanda really well as our second setter,” he said. “Kaylee has lots of strengths in addition to her setting  that our team will benefit from in a lot of ways, especially her serving, ball control and defense, but also her court presence, great attitude and competitive spirit.”

Dombroski has played volleyball ever since Grade 7 when her career began at Millwood’s Christian School. She had success early on, winning a City Championship that year and being named Most Improved Player.  She has continued to have success, winning  a provincial silver medal and national bronze medal with the U14 Northern Alberta Volleyball Club, city championships in her Grade 9 and 10 seasons, and second place finishes in cities for her Grade 8 and 11 years. Dombroski was a Grade 10 starting setter when she led her team to the high school city championship, the  first ever for Vimy Ridge School.

The indoor court was not the only place Dombroski found success, as she has won several Alberta premier beach tournaments, place third in the Alberta 16U Summer Games, competed for Team Alberta in beach volleyball, has won gold at the Alberta Beach Volleyball Provincial Championship the last three seasons.She also finished ninth in the country (out of a 60 team draw) at Canadian Beach Volleyball Nationals in her 16U year.

Dombroski credits a lot of her development to Keith Lundgren (current coach of Thompson Rivers University women’s volleyball team) for the time he spent with her during her 16U and 17U seasons when she played club volleyball for the NAIT Ooks club in Edmonton.

“It was a privilege to be coached by Keith as he took a great deal of time and interest in me as an athlete and volleyball player and taught me a lot of the knowledge and skill I have today”, Dombroski said.

Most recently, for her Grade 12 year, Dombroski played at Strathcona Christian Academy and for the FOG 18U Elite club, where she was coached by Anita Birkland and Kaila Whitton. She was honored as a tournament MVP during the season and finished in the top 10 at Alberta provincials.

Dombroski is going to be majoring in Christian Ministry at Briercrest with an emphasis in youth and worship arts, and is also taking a minor in Kinesiology.

“I am really excited about coming to Briercrest in the fall and playing volleyball on the Clipper team! I’m looking forward to spending time with my teammates, experience dorm life, being surrounded by a Christian environment and meeting awesome people who share my same love for Jesus!”

Angela Wassen

Angela Wassen comes to Briercrest from Langley Fundamental Middle Secondary School where she has been named the Female Athlete of the Year award for four of her six years there. This past year she was also named the MVP of the Titans volleyball team. In her Grade 11 year, Wassen helped lead the Fundy Titans to their first appearance at provincials in 10 seasons.

Wassen began playing club volleyball in Grade 7, when she joined the Fraser Valley Volleyball Club Blitz and played through her U17 season. Her final year of club was with Altruista out of Abbotsford, BC. Some highlights of Wassen’s club career include winning the Canada West Open Championship for U14, provincial gold for U15, and winning gold in tier 3 at the 2011 Canadian Open Championship.

Wassen is grateful for the experiences she has had with volleyball so far.

“Playing volleyball with new people and learning new skills has helped me to be a hard worker and a team player and it has also given me more confidence in myself,” she said. “All of my coaches were so great – they helped me to overcome my fears and push me to do better. Without them I definitely wouldn’t be the player I am today!”

Her new coach is looking forward to what Wassen will bring to the team.

“Angela is very athletic with great quickness and jumping ability,” Weinmaster said. “She also has strong ball control skills that we will look to utilize this year to bring depth to our serve receive and defense. She is very coachable and I am looking forward to working with her.”.

Wassenis following in the footsteps of her older sister Shannon, who played for Briercrest and currently coaches the high school team in Caronport, and is excited for a great year ahead.

“When I go to Briercrest I will be studying Biblical Studies and strengthening my faith,” she said. “I am really looking forward to meeting new people and being part of a new team!”

Starlet Peterson

Starlet Peterson will be joining her older sister Brooke on the team this year and will be bringing a lot of the same great attributes of her older sibling.

“I am excited about coaching another Peterson”, Weinmaster said. “Brooke is such a huge part of our program, not only with her great skills and athleticism, but with her leadership and character. I know that Star is going to bring that same great work ethic, attitude, discipline and commitment to winning that her older sister has. I am also looking forward to the talent and personality that Star will add. She has great ball control, court movement and also the Peterson jumping ability that runs in the family!”

 Peterson graduated from Weyburn Comprehensive Highschool where had a great deal of success and recognition for her athletic abilities, while playing for coach Blake Johnson. She took home the provincial silver medal in her Grade 10 year, then won 5A provincial gold in her Grade 11 year. She was named Most Improved Player in Grade 10, won the Coaches Award in Grade 11 and then the Award of Excellence in her graduating year. She was also named to the all-star team in back-to-back years at the annual Mustang Volley Tournament.

Club volleyball began in Grade 7 for Peterson when she started with the Weyburn Volleyball Club, continuing with them through her 17U season. In her final year of club she joined the Regina Cougars 18U team where she was coached by Dwight Fuhro. Peterson was one of the team captains and helped lead her team to a bronze medal at provincials. She was also named to the all-star team at provincials for her standout play.

Peterson will be taking open studies at Briercrest this fall and says that she is most looking forward to playing college volleyball.

Whitney Zylstra

Whitney Zylstra also comes to the Clippers from British Columbia. She was a multi-sport athlete at Highroad Academy in Chilliwack, BC, competing in both soccer and volleyball. She had a great deal of personal and team success during her volleyball career with the Knights.

Zylstra made the senior team in her Grade 9 year and won a provincial championship while earning Rookie of the Year honors for Highroad Athletics. In her Grade 10 year, she received an all-star award at the Fraser Valleys provincial qualifying tournament and was named Female Athlete of the Year and also won Most Inspirational Award for the athletic department. Her Grade 11 year brought another provincial championship as well as Zylstra being named the MVP of the championship tournament. She also received a first team all-star award at Fraser Valleys for the second straight year was honored as the MVP for Highroad Athletics.

In her graduating year, Zylstra added a Fraser Valley championship and provincial silver medal to her collection, while earning the personal accolades as Fraser Valley’s MVP and being named to the first-team all-star team at provincials. She was also named an all-star at the prestigious UBCO tournament, where she was chosen as one of the top players out of 52 teams.

“Whitney is a very well-rounded player who will contribute to our team in a number of important ways”, Weinmaster said. “We will be looking to her to bring her excellent speed and quickness to the middle in the front row, while improving our team defense and passing with her strong ball control. She has the ability to play a variety of positions really well, but I see her contributing at middle for us this season. She is not your typical middle, as we expect her to be involved highly involved with our serve receive and back-court defense as well.”

Zylstra is taking open studies this year at Briercrest and can’t wait for the volleyball season to start.

“I had to quit club two months into the season this year due to being very sick, so I’m pumped to get back to playing!”, she said. “I’m so excited to get to know my team, bond with them, and make a ton of memories doing what I love most!”

Brooklyn Dyck

“Brooklyn is an excellent athlete with great strength, power, and quickness”, coach Weinmaster said. “She is going to bring some good offensive ability to our team at the outside hitter position and she also has the ability to make some important contributions with her serving and back court play. I have been really impressed with her attitude and skill level watching her play during this past club season.”

Dyck will be coming to the Clippers from Central Memorial High School in Calgary, AB. This past high school season she was the MVP at the Springbank Invitation Tournament, honored with the Heart and Hustle award at the Earnest Manning Invitational Tournament, and won gold medals at both the ME LaZerte Invitational and the Calgary City Championships. A highlight for Dyck was scoring the final point to win her team the city championship and earn the gold medal.

Dyck is also an excellent student, having been on the honor roll the last three years and in her graduating year she was also nominated for the Calgary-wide Myrna Empey Award which recognizes high academic achievement combined with volleyball performance.

During her club volleyball career, Dyck played for the NorCal Vikings, NorCal Chaos and most recently Canuck Stuff. During her 17U season, she received an MVP award at Nationals and also has a national gold medal to her name from earlier in her club career. Dyck also received a scholarship award from Canuck Stuff Volleyball Club this season.

After a summer of competing in Alberta beach volleyball tournaments, Dyck is excited for a great year at Briercrest.

“I am really looking forward to living and being educated in a Christian environment,” she said. “I am also really looking forward to the friends I will make and, of course, being involved with the volleyball team!”

Erika Cartman

The Clippers will be getting another local talent in Erika Cartman. She graduated alongside Wendel from CHS this year and is looking forward to staying home and competing for Briercrest.

“I’m most excited to apply the things I have learned and share times of fellowship with other believers,” she said. “I am very anxious and excited to be playing the next level of volleyball and look forward to improving my skills and using the gifts I have been blessed with. I am so grateful for this opportunity!”

Cartman will be taking open studies her first year as she figures out where to focus her future studies.

“I am looking into the education program at Briercrest, but I have been also considering their TESOL program or missionary work. I want to keep my focus on growing in the knowledge of God’s Word and the follow the plan He has for my life.”

Cartman was looked to for leadership on her high school volleyball team this past season as one of the veteran players.

“I was team captain for my senior year and if I had to pick a highlight it would be getting to know the girls and playing for the glory of God.”

 In addition to playing volleyball for coach Koshman at CHS, Cartman also played badminton and basketball throughout high school and was named Athlete of the Month on multiple occasions. She also played a couple of seasons of club volleyball for the Moose Jaw Element team. Her passion for volleyball has really grown over the past couple of years and her potential is really start to come through.

“I am very excited to work with Erika this year as I can see she has a great deal of potential with her athletic ability,” Weinmaster said. She has great height and jumping ability and has natural ability at the net, especially with blocking. I have seen her make some great improvements with volleyball during her high school and club seasons that last couple years and I can’t wait to see how much she will improve during this upcoming year!”

 Channelle Friesen

The third recruit from British Columbia this year is Abbotsford’s Channelle Friesen. Friesen was a multi-sport athlete at Mennonite Educational Institute, competing in rugby and volleyball for the Eagles.

The 5’ 10” lefty is a very versatile athlete who has experience at every position other than libero. Most recently Friesen has played right side with her Altruista club team, where she was teammates with Wassen, and coached by Emmanuel Denguessi and Saralyn Stel.

During her last two years at MEI she competed as a middle blocker and was named an all-star during the Fraser Valleys – a district tournament they moved through in order to qualify for provincials. Friesen has also spent some time setting during her career, which makes her a valuable addition to the Briercrest team.

“Channelle is a very well-rounded player that can contribute to our team in so many great ways,” Weinmaster said. “She is going to be a valuable addition to our team not only because of her skill level but because of her willingness to learn and improve, along with her great passion for the game! Channelle has a great serve and, as a lefty, she will give us another unique look on offence.”

Friesen is planning to take some kinesiology courses at Briercrest this fall and with some bible, theology and Christian ministry classes to “strengthen her faith”. She also says, “I am looking forward to getting to know more people and the amazing experiences college will bring.”