by Mark Janzen
March 18, 2014, LANGLEY, British Columbia (ISN – Trinity Western women’s volleyball coach Ryan Hofer added four key recruits for the 2014 season as he officially announced the signing of Elly Wendel (Caronport, Sask.), Micaylee Pucilowski (Kelowna, B.C.), Kristin Anton (Prince George, B.C.) and Alison Quiring (Brandon, Man.) Tuesday.
“This group is a very physical group,” Hofer said. “These girls bring with them a lot of experience, they have a strong presence at the net and they definitely elevate the size of our team. The character and class of these four are perfect fits for our school. We’re excited to have each one of them join our Spartan family.”
Elly Wendel (Caronport, Sask.)
Wendel, who graduated from Caronport High School in 2012 and played with Briercrest College (ACAC – Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference) for the last two years, is coming off an outstanding 2013-14 season in which she was named ACAC women’s volleyball player of the year and was a CCAA (Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association) All-Canadian.
The 6-foot-1 outside hitter finished second in the ACAC in kills with 3.4 per set and led the league in aces with 58, for an average of 0.7 per set. She had a career-high 23 kills in a four-set regular season win over eventual CCAA silver medallists Grande Prairie Regional College.
Last year, Wendel was both a CCAA All-Canadian and ACAC First Team All-Star. She also represented Saskatchewan at the 2013 Canada Summer Games.
“We are excited to have Elly with us,” Hofer said. “She is going to bring some experience to the floor and she is ready to take the next step to the CIS. She’s a hard worker and she’s going to be a great asset for our team. She’s going to raise the level of our team and she’s a physical presence at the net. Off the court, she is easy to get along with and has a low-key personality that will fit in well with our team.”
In the classroom, Wendel earned both CCAA National Scholar and Academic All-Canadian honors during the 2012-13 season.
“I want to attend TWU because it can offer me both a highly recognized Biblical studies program and one of the highest performing women’s volleyball teams in Canada,” Wendel said.
Micaylee Pucilowski (Kelowna, B.C.)
Pucilowski, who will graduate from Kelowna Christian School in 2014, comes to TWU having won the BC provincial girls ‘A’ championship in Grades 10, 11 and 12. Most recently, Pucilowski helped Kelowna Christian to the 2013 provincial title with a four-set win over Immaculata in the gold medal match. For her efforts, she was named the tournament’s MVP for the second year in a row.
Beyond her high school team, Pucilowski, who plays for the UBCO Jr. Heat Volleyball Club, represented Team BC at the 2012 Western Elite Championship, where she helped her team to a bronze medal and was named a tournament all-star.
“As an outside hitter with her size, Micaylee is going to bring both a physical presence to our side of the net and provide an all-around game to the court,” said Hofer of Pucilowski, who was ranked No. 4 amongst graduating volleyball players in B.C. by a CIS coaches poll conducted by The Province newspaper. “She is committed to her academics and she is committed to forming and being part of a great culture with our team. We know she will be a great fit for this team and will be a great teammate.”
Off the court, Pucilowski has consistently been on her school’s Principal’s List throughout high school and plans to study human kinetics at TWU with an eye towards a master’s degree in occupational therapy.
“Trinity Western has always been my dream school,” Pucilowski said. “I wanted to be able to play the sport I love but also continue to learn and grow in my faith and TWU gives me the best of both worlds.”
Kristin Anton (Prince George, B.C.)
The 6-foot-2 Anton, who will graduate from Cedars Christian in 2014, will solidify the Spartans middle for years come.
This past summer Anton helped Team BC to a silver medal at the 2013 National Team Challenge Cup and also guided her Prince George Youth Volleyball Club 18U team to a Division 3 gold medal at the 2013 Canadian Open.
“We’re thrilled that Kristin chose volleyball,” said Hofer of Anton, who was ranked No. 10 in The Province poll. “She had a choice between modelling and volleyball and she decided on volleyball. She’s an athletic player who is on a great trajectory and we’re really excited about her potential. With the size that she brings and her work ethic, she will become an impact player with our team.”
With Cedars Christian, Anton most recently earned a bronze medal at the 2013 BC provincial girls ‘A’ championship, where she was named a First Team All-Star.
In 2012-13, she also helped the Cedars Christian basketball team to a silver medal at the 2013 BC provincial girls ‘A’ championship.
Academically, Anton has been on her school’s Principal’s List since Grade 11.
“I really like the small-community feel of the university as well as the faith-based education,” said Anton, who plans to study communications and fine arts. “I had the opportunity to spend a few days with the team and really felt like I fit well with them. I didn’t really want to go home.”
Alison Quiring (Brandon, Man.)
The 6-foot-1 Quiring, who will graduate from Neelin High School this year, is a two-time club provincial champion, a two-time Manitoba high school provincial champion and has long been pegged as one of the province’s top volleyball players in this year’s class.
“Alison is an impressive middle with good ball control and an imposing physical presence at the net,” Hofer said. “She’s quick along with net and possesses the skills necessary to be a great CIS middle. She comes to TWU from a winning tradition within what is a volleyball hotbed in Manitoba where she has had fantastic high school and club coaching. Alison is a great all-around volleyball player who will be a perfect fit into our program.”
With her club, Storm Volleyball, Quiring won the provincial championship in both 2012 and 2013 and was a finalist in 2011. With those same team at nationals, she helped her team to second place (2011), fourth place (2012) and fifth place (2013) finishes.
With Neelin, Quiring played in four straight Manitoba finals, winning the AAAA varsity provincial championship in 2012 and the junior provincial championship in 2010. In her Grade 12 season, her team finished with a 47-5 record, which included winning UBC’s Mizuno Invitational.
At the provincial level, Quiring played with Team Manitoba in 2010 and 2011 at the Western Elite Championships and at the 2013 National Team Club Championship.
In 2012, the Manitoba Volleyball Association named her the 16U Player of the Year.
Academically, Quiring has been an honour roll student since Grade 9 and finished Grade 11 with a 97.5 per cent overall average.
Away from the court, she was a member of her high school’s student council and also played the lead role in her school’s musicals in Grade 10, 11 and 12.
“I am extremely excited to attend TWU for many reasons,” said Quiring, who plans to study linguistics at TWU. “The school aspect is very attractive with such small class sizes and a high academic rating. I am also excited about the idea of integrating my faith with my studies and volleyball. The team is another huge positive for me. They play at a very elite level and have wonderful chemistry as friends. I’m also looking forward to learning from a great coaching staff as I look to improve my game at the next level.”