Some Trent women brought home bronze medals this past weekend. No, not Olympic medals. OCAA Volleyball bronze medals. With a 3-1 set victory over Redeemer University College, the Trent Women put a bronze exclamation point on their season.
Losses came few and far in between for the Lady Excalibur this season as they went 16-2, finishing tied for first in the OCAA East Division.
The OCAA championship tournament started off where it ended with a 3-1 set win over Redeemer.
Then they ran into an undefeated Humber team in the semi-finals. “We were beating Humber,” said Coach Peter Carter. First-year named OCAA East Rookie of Year, Jaime Fryer, expanded, “We beat them in the first set worse than they’ve ever been beaten [in a set], and the second set was really close.” Ultimately, the Excalibur lost in four sets.
“It was a tough game against Humber. We really took it to them the first set, and then the second set, we had some iffy calls and big delays between points so our focus sort of got away from what we were trying to accomplish,” said four-year veteran of the Excalibur, Rebecca van Staalduinen.
Humber went on to win the OCAA championship with another 3-1 over Fanshawe. This was Humber’s seventh consecutive OCAA championship.
For the Trent women, they would have to win two games to get the medal they went to Durham for. Settling down after what Coach Carter called a “heartbreaking” loss was going to be difficult. “We really wanted to be the team to beat Humber,” said van Staalduinen, and continued, “but we went away back to the hotel and we re-focused, [and thought] we can still get a medal. I think we were so focused on wanting to get to that gold-silver medal game that we kind of forgot about the bronze.”
Their next game was against Georgian, a team they had defeated in the regular season. “I was nervous to play Georgian because we had already beat them. The pressure was on us to win again,” said Fryer.
The Excalibur swept Georgian in that game in straight sets, then went on the bronze medal game, which they won, claiming Trent’s first ever medal in Women’s volleyball.
“I think it’s 15 years here that I’ve been involved, and it’s just great. I’m sure it’s good for the varsity program to see a return on their investment, too,” said Carter. In a press release, interim athletics’ director at Trent, Brian Greer, echoed the sentiment. “Our coaching staff led by Peter Carter has worked tirelessly to build the program and have been rewarded for their efforts. We are very proud and thrilled with the results.”
The bronze medal wasn’t the only fruit of their labour either. “We had four players named as all-stars,” beamed Carter.
Rebecca van Staalduinen was the only named to OCAA East first-team all-star and was one of the first names mentioned when losses to next year’s team were brought up. “It was a great way to finish my career,” said van Staalduinen, who was happy to be a first team all-star again after being named one in her first year.
Looking forward to next year, “We have a lot of big losses going into next year, a lot of holes,” said Fryer, who will be one of the returning players. Carter says that the success this season will be a positive for next year, though. “The bronze medal benefits everyone in the program. Being in those games, that situation, that’s great experience we’ll have going forward.”