Excerpt courtesy Josh Aldrich, Camrose Canadian
In sport there is no better way to learn than through experience.
Coaches like University of Alberta-Augustana Vikings women's volleyball head coach Greg Ryan call it a process, but what it amounts to is going through a situation, reacting, learning and growing from it.
That's what the Alberta Conference Athletic Conference championships boiled down to for the host Vikings this past weekend.
Augustana showed flashes of what was possible for this roster, but an inability to maintain their high level as they lost both of their games, 3-1 (20-25, 25-17, 25-8, 25-19) to the Briercrest College Clippers on Thursday and 3-2 (23-25, 25-19, 24-26, 25-20, 15-10) to the Lethbridge College Kodiaks on Friday.
"Why do you host? There are a variety of reasons, but the main answer is to get that team in that environment where they can learn how to play at that level," said Ryan. "If we just finished the season after last weekend, we still wouldn't know that, we wouldn't know what it looked like. If you look at our players, very few of them have played in big games. Now they're on the main stage, they know what that looks like … and you're not going to learn it by watching."
Playing a big role in the weekend was the ever-present Augustana student section that made life difficult for opposing teams and provided a lift for the Vikings. They were packed in, they were loud and they were creative in what they brought to the table, from pots and pans, costumes, a saxophone and every Grade 5 music teacher's worst nightmare, recorders.
"It's the best recruiter I got," said Ryan. "Anyone who comes and sees that says 'I want to play there. That's way too much fun.'"
Photos by ProSports Photography