Sports

Ending the drought

Women’s volleyball team look for first ACAC medal

Megan Brennan, outside hitter for the SAIT Trojans women's volleyball team, and head coach Art O'Dwyer during a game against the Medicine Hat Rattlers in the SAIT gym on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. Photograph by: Andrew Crossett

Megan Brennan, outside hitter for the SAIT Trojans women’s volleyball team, and head coach Art O’Dwyer during a game against the Medicine Hat Rattlers in the SAIT gym on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016.
Photograph by: Andrew Crossett

It’s a streak since 1988, just not the kind of streak that any team would want.

For 28 straight seasons, the SAIT Trojans women’s volleyball team has not earned a medal during the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) playoffs.

Despite this, the team has inched closer each year, more so since head coach Art O’Dwyer took over the coaching duties six years ago.

“There’s been more consistency from year to year,” O’Dwyer said in regards to his time being the head coach.

Last season, the team had a strong regular season, finishing second in their conference, but fell short of a bronze medal in playoffs.

“Overall it was pretty solid season,” O’Dwyer said.

“We want to build off of it and get better for this year.”

Coming into this season, O’Dwyer is pleased with how the team has taken shape so far and understands what it will   take to succeed.

“We’re starting at a good level and building on that,” said O’Dwyer.

“It’s better than starting off at square one.

“We’re starting to understand how much hard work it takes to succeed.”

The team finds itself with a new setter for this year and rookies who are looking to contribute to the team, something that O’Dwyer said changes the game plan up a bit.

“It never stays the same year to year.

“We’ll be a bit of a different team, and there’s work that we need to do.”

Making the adjustments on court, O’Dwyer looks for hard work from the team to improve individually that will then lead to the team growing stronger.

“If we get one to two percent better every day, we’ll be great by the end,” O’Dwyer said.

“[We] have to work through that, have the grit and determination to reach our end goal.”

Entering her last season of eligibility, Megan Brennan recognizes she has one last shot to be a part of the team to break the medal drought.

“It’s a lot more pressure,” Brennan said, referring to ending her Trojans career on a high note.

“There’s a little bit of weight with it being the last chance.”

Brennan, like O’Dwyer, had nothing but positive things to say about the new players on the team, who come in and make the team better as a whole.

“A lot of the recruits can come in and play ACAC right off the bat,” Brennan said.

“It’s really nice to have the new recruits come in and push the starters, and push me even.

“It’s interesting to have a team so new to each other and be able to play so well together.”

With every season, there are times that teams will have high points, but also some low points, as the ACAC can be unpredictable and that’s the nature of sport.

Brennan points out that the key is for the players to not get too low on themselves and be able to bounce back from adversity.

“It’s a long season. If we lose a few to start, it’s not detrimental,” Brennan said.

“Our mentality is if we play the best, we will be the best.”

The team has shown great potential each year, something that Brennan has recognized as her time as a Trojan, hoping that the team will reach that full potential this season.

“We’ve always known that we’ve had this potential,” Brennan said.

“We want to show SAIT and the ACAC that we can medal, and to be that team is our main goal.”

Brennan, known for breaking records, is proud of the fact that she has accomplished so much in her career, and is waiting to put that final stamp on her resume with a medal.

“I never expected to come in and break a record. I’m really proud of it,” Brennan said.

“At the same time, my name’s on it, but I want my team to be on there too.

“I want to help the team and not just be personal.”

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