Former setter, FRENCH signs pro deal in Cyprus

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October 3, 2013, LANGLEY, British Columbia – Former Trinity Western women’s volleyball setter Kelci French (Okotoks, Alta.) recently signed her first professional contract as she has joined AEK Larnaca in Cyprus for the 2013-14 season.

French played with the Spartans for two years, from 2011-2013, and spent this past summer competing with both Canada’s national volleyball team and its World University Games team.

Along the way at the university level, French earned a CIS bronze medal with the Spartans in 2012-13, when she was the team’s starting setter, and a fifth place finish at the national championship in 2011-12.

“I think having that year as a setter definitely helped me become a better player,” French said just prior to departing for Cyprus. “Just knowing what I want and having Trinity Western as a standard as far as what a team should look like. I’ve never been on a team like I had at TWU. It was such a tight-knit group of girls and it was like a family. I’m going to just try and take that and try to recreate that over there because I think that’s the most important part of volleyball.”

Along with her time at TWU and her chance to compete with Canada at the FISU Games this summer, alongside fellow Spartan Alicia Perrin (Creston, B.C.), French also had the opportunity to don the Maple Leaf at the NORCECA Women’s Volleyball Continental Championship in Omaha, Neb., where she helped the team to a fourth place finish.

“It was a really good summer,” French said. “I learned a lot and grew a lot as a setter and an athlete. Russia was a really cool experience to take in a mini-Olympics.”

French started her CIS career with Alberta in 2008-09, where she won the CIS Rookie of the Year award, before moving to Winnipeg to train at Canada’s national training centre for two years. In 2011, French returned to the CIS, joining the Spartans for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons.

French will spend the year in Cyprus before returning to Canada in May to once again compete with Canada’s national team.

Larnaca is a city of about 50,000 residents situated on the southeast coast of the Mediterranean island of Cyprus.