Womens Volleyball Stays Local With 2013 Recruiting Class

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Mark Janzen

June 19, 2013, Langley, BC, (ISN) – Trinity Western women’s volleyball coach Ryan Hofer stayed close to home with his 2013 recruiting class, as all five of this year’s incoming athletes are from the Lower Mainland.

Athletes would include left side Rowyn Neufeld (Richmond, B.C.), middles Katie Devaney (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) and Katrina Tolentino (Richmond), setter Nikki Cornwall (Coquitlam, B.C.) and libero Rachel Flink (Surrey, B.C.).

This impressive group of five will arrive in Langley this fall and immediately look to help a Spartans team that is coming off a CIS bronze medal-winning season for the second time in three years.

“As a coaching staff and as a team, we are extremely excited about the addition of these five athletes to our program,” Hofer said. “When selecting this year’s recruiting class, we looked for players who have a high desire to succeed and those who possess a high athletic ability, love to learn and work hard.

“Not only are they gifted athletes, but they are outstanding young adults who will add to the strength of this team and will be fantastic ambassadors for our program throughout their careers.”

Rowyn Neufeld (No. 2 on The Province’s Best of B.C. Senior Girls Super 15 Class of 2013)

Neufeld was one of the most sought-after athletes in B.C. and comes to TWU after a successful career at both the high school level, with Richmond Christian – which she will graduate from this spring – and the club level, with the Air Attack Volleyball Club.

With Air Attack, she most recently helped her team to a provincial bronze medal and a top eight finish at the national championships. The year before, in 2012, she helped Air Attack to a provincial gold medal and a national Tier 2 gold medal. She has also won a provincial silver, in 2011, and a provincial bronze medal, in 2010, at the club level.

With Richmond Christian, she captained her team to a fifth place finish at the 2012 B.C. “AA” Provincial Championship. For her efforts at provincials, she was named a First Team All-Star.

“Rowyn is a gifted athlete and a talented player who has excellent ball control and an explosive attack,” Hofer said. “She has a determined work ethic and is continually striving to improve herself. Her presence offensively will be a great asset to our team.

“However, Rowyn brings much more than just a volleyball resume. She has done an impressive amount of community service and mentoring of others. We are excited to spend the next five years with Rowyn and see the impact she is going to make within the CIS and the Spartans community.”

Neufeld plans to take general studies in her first year at TWU.

“At TWU you’re not just another face in the crowd,” Neufeld said. “The small class sizes and Christian atmosphere are aspects that I love about the school. I chose to play volleyball for TWU because I love the team atmosphere and, as a top volleyball team in the CIS, the players and coaches know that victories are won by hard work, sweat and determination. That’s the kind of team I want to play for. That, and like all the players and coaches, I want to win a national championship.”

Katie Devaney (No. 6 on The Province’s Best of B.C. Senior Girls Super 15 Class of 2013)

The 6-foot-1 Devaney, who will graduate from Terry Fox Secondary this spring, is coming off a successful club season in which she, alongside Cornwall and Flink, won a provincial gold medal and national bronze medal while with the Fraser Valley Volleyball Club.

Prior to joining FVVC, Devaney played her club volleyball with the Coquitlam Ducks, where she was a multi-medal winner at both the provincial and national levels.

While at Terry Fox, she earned a 4.0 GPA in each year since Grade 9 and received the Top Academic Student award in Grades 10 and 11. She was also named the Academic Athlete of the Year in Grades 9 through 11. When not playing volleyball, Devaney played basketball for Terry Fox and led the team to the provincial championship tournament in both 2010 and 2011.

Devaney was also recently named to Team BC’s 14-player roster for this year’s Canada Summer Games.

“Katie brings a strong presence to the net with both her block and her attack,” Hofer said. “She knows how to take up space and hits a heavy ball. She brings a competitive spirit to both practice and competition and has a willingness to do what it takes to reach the next level of play.

“It’s been great to see Katie’s development on and off the court. She’s a great teammate who athletes love to play with.”

Devaney plans to study chemistry or biology at TWU.

“I want to pursue a post-secondary education while playing for one of the top volleyball teams in the country,” Devaney said. “TWU is a great fit for me academically, athletically, and personally.”

Nikki Cornwall (No. 4 on The Province’s Best of B.C. Senior Girls Super 15 Class of 2013)

The 5-foot-10, Cornwall, who will graduate this year from Dr. Charles Best Secondary, like Devaney, comes to TWU with a winning pedigree as she has played alongside Devaney with both the Coquitlam Ducks and, most recently, FVVC.

Over the past five years, she has collected a total of three national bronze medals at the club level and four provincial medals. With her high school side, she helped Dr. Charles Best to a fourth place finish at the 2012 “AAAA” Provincial Championship and was named a First Team All-Star. She has also earned Best Female Athlete honours at her high school each year from Grade 9 through Grade 12.

“Nikki brings a level of ball control to the floor that is second to none in the country,” Hofer said. “She plays with a stable demeanor and brings a consistency to the floor that every team is looking for. She is explosive at the net, solid in the back court and, most importantly, has outstanding set location. She is an athlete who leads by example and has an unwavering work ethic.”

Similar to Devaney, Cornwall was also recently named to Team BC’s 14-player roster for this year’s Canada Summer Games.

Cornwall plans to study psychology at TWU.

“I am truly blessed to have the opportunity to play, compete and learn from some amazing people and athletes who I have watched since Grade 8,” Cornwall said. “I am looking forward to learning about myself on and off the court at TWU.”

Rachel Flink

At 5-foot-6, Flink, who will graduate this year from Pacific Academy, joins the Spartans looking to develop into TWU’s future libero.

Flink has played with FVVC for the past four years and has earned four provincial medals at the club level, including gold this past year. She also helped FVVC to a national bronze medal this year.

With Pacific Academy, she played in the “AA” provincial championship match in each of the last four years, with her team winning the title in her Grade 10 and 11 years.

“Rachel brings a contagious energy and competitive spark to the floor that truly inspires her teammates,” Hofer said. “She has great ball control and a never quit mentality. All of these qualities are necessary for her position as a libero and defensive specialist.

“She will be an outstanding fit at TWU and there’s no doubt she will build into the culture and community of both our team and the university.”

Flink plans to study sports medicine or business at TWU.

“I want to attend TWU because I love the athletes and the community within the school,” Flink said. “It is a great academic and athletic school with lots to offer.”

Katrina Tolentino (No. 9 on The Province’s Best of B.C. Senior Girls Super 15 Class of 2013)

The 6-foot Tolentino, who will graduate this year from Robert Alexander McMath Secondary, comes to TWU already with an impressive resume.

In her time with Richmond’s Air Attack Volleyball Club, she earned six provincial medals, including three gold medals, one silver medal and two bronze medals.

With McMath, her team finished in the top seven at provincials each of the last three years and this past season, she was named an all-star at the B.C. “AAAA” provincial championship.

“Katrina has been turning heads in the volleyball community for the past few years,” Hofer said. “As a middle, she possesses intangible attributes, which are essential to her success at a high level. She is incredibly fast and explosive at the net, which gives her an impressive ability to close the block. She has a quick arm and has a variety of shots, which allows her to find the gaps and beat the block.

“She is in the process of recovering from a knee injury and we have confidence she will recover fully because of her outstanding work ethic and commitment to the sport.”

Tolentino plans to study business at TWU.

“I’m excited to be joining the Spartans as they have an excellent volleyball program and TWU is known for having such a close-knit community,” Tolentino said.