Madison Porisky notched 124 kills this season. -griffins athletics/the griff
Kris Kinash – sports editor
Playoff time has arrived at MacEwan University, with all court teams qualifying for a chance to bring home gold medals. But along with the playoffs, comes the demand for a higher level of consistency and execution. That shouldn’t be a problem for the Griffins women’s volleyball team, as they are riding a twelve-game winning streak that has earned them the third spot overall in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC).
For the Griffins head coach, Ken Briggs, the team has exceeded expectations and accomplished their goal of getting a spot in the top four. “It was an expectation for us to make the top six; it was a goal to be as high as we could be,” said Briggs. “If we were in the top four by the end of the year, especially with the schedule we had in the first semester, I thought that was a realistic goal and something we could certainly proud of, going into provincials.”
Looking back on how his team performed in the regular season, Briggs couldn’t say enough about how happy he was that his team went undefeated at home, and how that translated to a 16-4 overall record. “We’re the first team in a few years that has gone undefeated at home and those are steps in the right direction,” Briggs noted. “It’s just like in any professional sport — like the Oilers. You want to be tough at home, that’s your first step, you want to take advantage of the schedule when you get the chance, when you are at home more often, when you don’t have to travel everywhere. All those things fell into place so we’re in a good place [in the standings].”
As the year went on, the Griffins starting lineup became clearer as the rookies stepped up, and showed their coach a desire to play at a high level. First-year, Madison Porisky, is second on the Griffins in kills with 124. And first-year middle, Tyra Adamic, found her stride in the second semester; compiling 88 kills as well. Porisky will be key to the Griffins’ offense going into the playoffs. Opposing teams know that as well, so Briggs will need to get support from the rest of his players if their playoff run is going to be a long one.
“In the second semester we established a starting lineup because [of] girls like Madison [pushing] forward,” Briggs said. “Is [Madison] going to be a force in the playoffs? I anticipate she will be. It’s going to be her first provincial experience at this level, but she’s not playing anybody new. She’s going to [not] be expected to do anything she hasn’t done already. And I think our middles match up against anybody in the league, in Kim [Bolin] and Tyra [Adamic]. That’s before we mention of the steadiness of having an experienced setter, and that is worth gold going into the playoffs. Having Katelyn [Melnyk] and an outstanding libero as well . . . there isn’t a weak point right now on our team.”
The first team the Griffins have to beat will be the Grande Prairie Wolves in a best of three matches. The Griffins split the regular season series with the Wolves winning one match apiece. The series should prove to be an exciting one as these teams are quite familiar with each other since travelling to Dallas together during the Christmas break.
“It’s kind of fortunate,” Briggs commented. “That’s the team we trained with at Christmas. We probably know this team better than we know most teams. We played with them and trained with them for eight days when we went to Dallas, we know their athletes, we know those coaches . . . it didn’t matter who we matched up with, from the first game on it’s going to be really hard — Grande Prairie is a tough team, but I believe if we play like we have in the second semester we have a really good chance of being successful.”