EDMONTON (CIS) – Fifth-year outside hitter Liz Cordonier from the two-time national champion University of British Columbia Thunderbirds was named the CIS player of the year in women’s volleyball, Thursday night. The Vancouver native became the first T-Bird in history to claim the Mary Lyons award.
Other CIS major award winners announced at the All-Canadian Banquet in Edmonton were Winnipeg left side Sonia Rossy of Winnipeg, who received the Mark Tennant award as rookie of the year, UBC’s Claire Hanna of Calgary, named the top libero in the nation, UBC’s Doug Reimer, who earned coach-of-the-year honours for a record fifth time, and Montreal’s Nadine Alphonse of Montreal, who received the Thérèse Quigley award recognizing excellence in volleyball, academics and community involvement.
The 2010 CIS championship gets under way Friday at the University of Alberta and culminates Sunday at 6:00 p.m. Mountain Time, with the gold medal final. SSN Canada will have live webcasts of all 11 match-ups: www.ssncanada.ca.
MARY LYONS AWARD (player of the year): Liz Cordonier, UBC
Cordonier was the best player on the best team in the country in 2009-2010. One of the most dynamic attackers in the nation, the 23-year-old arts major finished third in Canada West in conference play with 3.37 kills per set, placed eighth in overall hitting percentage (.281) and also ranked among the conference leaders in service aces (24). Her stellar play helped the Thunderbirds maintain No. 1 status in each of the 13 national coaches’ polls this year, post a perfect 20-0 record in the regular season and a 24-0 overall mark against CIS opponents, and capture the Canada West title and a berth into the CIS championship.
A three-time Canada West all-star, two-time CIS champion and one-time CIS silver medalist, the 6-foot-1 senior is named to the first all-Canadian team for the first time in her career, two years after receiving a second-team nod as a junior.
Cordonier, who represented Canada at the 2007 Universiade in Bangkok, has trained with the Canadian national team and is part of the National Beach Program. She played her rookie season with UBC back in 2005-06 alongside older sister Emily, a two-time all-Canadian. Her brothers Joe and John currently play for the UBC men’s team. Her father, John, rowed for Canada at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.
“Liz has continued to develop and impresses with her dynamic attacking and skill level,” said T-Birds head coach Doug Reimer. “For our team she motivates the group with her inspiring leadership and play. Her experience has been critical to the team during our season as she brings a very high level of competitiveness to her play.”
MARK TENNANT AWARD (rookie of the year): Sonia Rossy, Winnipeg
Rossy became the third member of the Wesmen to claim the Mark Tennant award. Tara Patrick was the first-ever winner of the trophy in 1990-91, while Sandy Newsham was the second recipient.
The 18-year-old arts student, who joined the Wesmen out of Westwood Collegiate, started all 20 conference matches for Winnipeg in her university debut. The 5-foot-11 left side tallied 176 kills, 293 defensive digs and 28 blocks, racking up 10 or more kills in eight contests and 10 or more digs in 14 duels. She finished third in Canada West with 3.71 digs per set and reached a season-high 30 digs versus Trinity Western on January 22, the second best total in the conference this season.
“We are ecstatic and so pleased with the announcement of Sonia being named CIS rookie of the year,” said Wesmen head coach Diane Scott. “This is an outstanding accomplishment for her and fantastic recognition for our volleyball program. Sonia worked extremely hard to prepare herself physically for her first CIS season, she grew as a person and as a student-athlete learning how to handle the physical, emotional and mental load. Although this award single’s out Sonia, she will be the first to tell you how important her teammates are to her and that it is all about the team.”
LIBERO OF THE YEAR: Claire Hanna, UBC
Hanna picked up her second straight Canada West libero of the year award in her fourth campaign with UBC, leading the Thunderbirds with 3.06 digs per game. The Graduate Studies student anchored the top-ranked UBC defence that held opponents to a Canada West low .110 hitting percentage and played a major role in the success of the No. 1 squad that lost only nine sets all season.
Hanna, who was a red-shirt for two years and was a middle, attacker and backup libero in her debut at UBC, was selected to train with the Canadian National Team during the summer of 2009 after just two seasons at the libero position.
“Claire continues to demonstrate the persistence and determination that has led to her success for the past three years as she settled into the libero position after more than two years as a training player only,” said Reimer. “She remains a great role model for players to show how much can be achieved if you are willing to continue to work to improve and contribute to the team not only on the court but off the court as well.”
COACH OF THE YEAR, presented by Coaches of Canada: Doug Reimer, UBC
Reimer became the first five-time winner of the CIS women’s volleyball coach-of-the-year award. Prior to this season, he was honoured in 2005-06 with the Thunderbirds, was a back-to-back recipient with Winnipeg (1993-94, 1992-93) and received the honour for the first time back in 1985-86 when he was coaching Victoria.
In his 13th season at UBC, Reimer guided the two-time defending national champion T-Birds to an unblemished 20-0 conference record, marking the first perfect regular season in the highly-competitive Canada West since 2004-05. His troops lost only nine sets in conference play, the lowest total in the CWUAA since the start of rally-point play 1999-00.
Ranked No. 1 in the country the entire season, UBC was the top offensive team in the nation this year, leading CIS with 13.48 kills and 12.54 set assists per game and a .275 team hitting percentage. The T-Birds also led the country with 330 total blocks and held their opponents to .110 hitting over the regular season.
A native of Kelowna, B.C. and a former all-Canadian setter at the University of Victoria, Reimer came to UBC in 1994-95, two years after leading Winnipeg to a CIS title. He coached the Thunderbirds for three successful seasons, left to become the full-time head coach of Team Canada, and returned to the Point Grey campus for the 2000-01 campaign. His major accomplishments with Team Canada included a second-place finish at the Olympic qualifier for the 2000 Sydney Games and a fifth-place finish at the 1997 World University Games in Sicily.
“To go undefeated in an incredibly competitive conference is nothing short of amazing,” noted UBC Associate Athletic Director, Theresa Hanson. “Doug understands the importance of developing an elite program both on and off the court. He’s not only led UBC to back-to-back CIS championships, but also emphasizes and encourages all-around commitment. This is evident with his student-athletes receiving recognition off the court in academics and the community at large. We are very fortunate to have Doug at the helm of our women’s volleyball program, and he is very deserving of this prestigious award.”
THÉRÈSE QUIGLEY AWARD (outstanding student-athlete / community involvement): Nadine Alphonse, Montreal
Alphonse is the second Montreal player to receive the Thérèse Quigley award, following Marianne Melanson in 1999-2000. She was the QSSF nominee for a second straight year.
On the court, the 6-foot-1 middle has been a model of consistency for the Carabins. She was named a first-team QSSF all-star each of the past three campaigns, was selected to the first all-Canadian team for the second straight year this season, and has guided Montreal to five consecutive CIS championship appearances, including a second-place finish in 2007-08 and a bronze medal a year ago. A member of the senior national team, Alphonse represented Canada at the 2007 Summer Universiade in Thailand.
In the classroom, Alphonse, who already has a degree in physical education and health, has a current grade point average of 3.6 (out of 4.0) in education.
Very involved in the Montreal community, she volunteers at Centre Jeunesse Laval (youth centre), the University of Montreal’s SEUR program (offering guidance to high school students), Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Montreal, Guignolée du Dr. Julien (raising money for sick children), as well as with the UdeM’s campaign to collect food and gifts for underprivileged families around Christmas time. She also participates in volleyball clinics and conferences at local primary schools and high schools. A native of Haiti, she helped raise money on campus in January when the country was hit by a devastating earthquake.
“Nadine is truly an extraordinary individual,” said Montreal head coach Olivier Trudel. It’s impossible not to admire someone who accomplishes so much. She’s always the first one to offer help or to rally the team around an event. She’s definitely a model not only for her teammates, but for all of us.”
The all-Canadian teams were also announced on Thursday.
Joining Cordonier and Alphonse on the first CIS squad were Montreal setter Alexandra Lojen of Montreal, Manitoba left side Ashley Voth of Winnipeg, Toronto left side Heather Bansley of Waterdown, Ont., UBC middle Jen Hinze of Vancouver, as well as St. FX left side Catherine Thornton, a native of Kobe, Japan.
Alphonse is the lone returnee from last year’s first team, while Bansley moves up from the second unit. The CIS rookie of the year in 2006-07, Voth was a first-team all-Canadian in 2007-08.
The second dream team for 2009-2010 is comprised of Laval outside Mélanie Savoie of St-Sylvestre, Que., Regina middle Beth Clark of Regina, Trinity Western setter Lauren O’Reilly of Langley, B.C., McGill power hitter Jennifer Thomson of Rosemère, Que., UBC right side Kyla Richey of Roberts Creek, B.C., UNB left side Jillian Blanchard of Saint John, and McMaster setter Jennifer Holt of Hamilton.
Thomson became one of the few players in CIS history to achieve all-Canadian status each of her five university seasons. Named CIS rookie of the year back in 2005-06, she earned back-to-back first-team nods in 2006-07 and 2007-08 to go with three second-team selections.
Joining Rossy on the ’09-10 CIS all-rookie unit were Laval outside Eve Trépanier of St-Michel-de-Bellechasse, Que., Wilfrid Laurier middle Julie Gordon of Barrie, Ont., Acadia middle Meg Rector of Milton, Ont., Calgary left side Maura Hayes of Cupids, Nfld., Ottawa left side Karina Krueger Schwanke of Blumeneau, Brazil, and Laval outside Stéphanie Alexandre of Laval, Que.
Mary Lyons Award (player of the year): Liz Cordonier, UBC
Mark Tennant Award (rookie of the year): Sonia Rossy, Winnipeg
Libero of the year: Claire Hanna, UBC
Coach of the year, presented by Coaches of Canada: Doug Reimer, UBC
Thérèse Quigley Award (outstanding student-athlete / community involvement): Nadine Alphonse, Montreal
About Canada West
“Canada West is consistently the most decorated of the four conferences in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), winning at least 10 CIS national titles every year since 1997-98. Comprised of 14 schools, from the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, the CWUAA produces numerous major award winners and Academic All-Canadian student-athletes each year, with many going on to athletic success around the globe in pro leagues or events such as the Olympics, Paralympics or Universiade Games.”
About Canadian Interuniversity Sport
Canadian Interuniversity Sport is the national governing body of university sport in Canada. Fifty-two universities, 10,000 student-athletes and 550 coaches vie for 21 national championships in 12 different sports. CIS also provides high performance international opportunities for Canadian student-athletes at Winter and Summer Universiades, as well as numerous world university championships. For further information, visit www.cis-sic.ca.