Graduating Cadets Say Good Bye to 4 Years of Volleyball

“Long Road of Volleyball” Comes to An end

Article by 25249 OCdt (IV) Rebecca Fielding(Photo)

On Sunday February 26, the RMC women’s volleyball 2011-2012 season came to an end with a 4th place finish at the final OUA tournament. On Saturday, February 18, the RMC women’s volleyball team had travelled to Toronto to face the York Lions in an OUA Quarter-Final and they were defeated by their opponent, the #1 ranked team. The scores were 25-13, 25-21 and 25-16 in favour of York however they were not representative of the high level of performance that was exhibited by the Paladins throughout the entire season. RMC left the York gym proud of their accomplishments and ready for a much deserved Reading week. However, Wednesday afternoon, a surprising telephone call awaited all 11 members of the team. Coach Carolyn Welden was calling all of the girls to advise of a necessary return to Kingston. There was practice Thursday morning, as RMC had qualified for the Final Four tournament in Ottawa. York had been disqualified in the match due to an ineligible player from the previous weekend’s game. The Paladins were ecstatic over the news; it was the 2nd chance they deserved! The girls would travel through the snowstorm on Friday afternoon and practice in the GeeGees gym Friday night.

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Their first game was against Ottawa Saturday afternoon and it would be a 3 set defeat for the Paladins, with scores of 14-25, 18-25 and 17-25. It was a tough game for the Paladins, who had only 3 practices since hearing the news. The GeeGees would push their tough serves deep into the corners, somehow floating and dropping in. RMC was confident going into the bronze medal game; they were going to show the OUA that they deserved 3rd place. On Saturday, the Lady Paladins played the Toronto Varsity Blues in a tight game that resulted in a 3 set win by UofT. With scores of 22-25, 10-25 and 19-25, the Paladins pushed the Blues but couldn’t finish the game. It was a great (final) end to the season, where 25419 OCdt (IV) Melissa McCoy (photo left) received her 2nd team All Star honours. The Paladins finished their season 4th in the OUA, an amazing way to end my (OCdt Fielding’s) 4 year career here at the college. But it all started like this…

The season started in August where the girls returned to the gym ready to train. They would practice hard in the first few weeks and play the Ex-Cadets on Reunion weekend. It was a great opportunity for the senior players to see the girls they had played with in the past and for the younger girls to meet experienced CF officers and volleyball players. In October, RMC travelled to a preseason tournament at McMaster University, where they would place 5th out of 8 teams. It was there they scoped out their future OUA opponents and prepared for the upcoming regular season. A week later, RMC was on the road again to the University of New Brunswick to face off against Atlantic teams. They came 4th out of 5 teams and many thanks are due to the Foundation for their support of the team in attending this tournament.

It was then time for regular season OUA competition. The Paladins would open at their home gym against the Ryerson Rams. It was a great game, with the Paladins dominating throughout the entire match. The girls were back and ready to show the OUA that they were going to be the best team in the league. RMC saw wins against Ryerson, Waterloo, Guelph, Brock and McMaster in the first half of the season. At Christmas break, they finished with an excellent record of 5 wins and 4 losses. All of the girls went home after December exams to rest for the 2nd half of the season.

On January 4th, women’s volleyball was back in the gym. On that weekend, they went 1-1 beating Waterloo again but dropping a match against a tough Guelph team. In the 2nd half, RMC would have 4 wins against Waterloo, Windsor and Lakehead but they would also be defeated by some OUA teams that they had already beaten. It was a tough few weeks for the squad and they struggled to get their momentum back. However, their fight and drive was enough to cinch the 8th and final OUA playoff spot. The RMC women’s volleyball team finished the regular season with 9 wins and 9 losses, the best record the program has ever had. They would face the #1 ranked York Lions.

At the end of the Toronto game in the Ottawa gym, the Paladins were disappointed but pleased at what they had achieved. It was a season filled with happiness, sadness, obstacles and brilliance. It was a season to remember, especially for 2 graduating players: 25419 OCdt (IV) Melissa McCoy and 25249 OCdt (IV) Rebecca Fielding. The moment was bittersweet for the girls, who are so proud of their teammates and yet ready for the future. There were tears all around, amidst many smiles and hugs too.

For both graduates, it has been a long road of volleyball. In first year, they started off together but weren’t enough to help the program to its first win, finishing the season with a disappointing record of 0 wins and 19 losses. In 2nd year, the team would see its first win against Windsor and they used that momentum to have an excellent season in Rebecca and Melissa’s 3rd year. With 6 first years joining the team in 2010, RMC had the additional talent they needed to finish the season with 7 wins and 12 losses, entering playoffs as the 8th seed for the first time ever. They faced the York Lions and lost in 3 sets; however it was a huge stepping stone for such a young team. Then RMC took the court with force in the girls 4th year and their season couldn’t have been much better (except for a few more wins!).

I know that Melissa and I share the same sentiments in that we are both so proud to have been a part of such a wonderful team here at the college. Playing volleyball is not just about participating in sport, it has many others aspects that can be tied into CF and military life. I have had the incredible opportunity to be the captain the team for the past 3 years and I have developed many leadership skills as a result. It has been an amazing experience to have gone through RMC as a varsity athlete and to be included in the history of this program. We have come from the bottom and risen to the top, along with the help of our teammates, coaches, the athletic department at RMC, as well as our fans and the support of the entire institution.

The season is over but the memories are not. Many thanks are due to the fans of RMC who have supported this team so much this semester. For the ones who travelled all the way to Toronto and Ottawa to attend the playoff games, thank you for your dedication and enthusiasm. To the parents, you were with us all the way! There are so many people to thank and not enough words to express our feelings. It has been 4 years for me and I am finally getting ready to move on. I am not quite ready yet, as I will continue to spend time with my teammates and play on the court with them as they prepare for next season. I am sure they will continue to improve and win greater than ever before. Next year, I will be on the sidelines watching as many games as possible in order to support the program that has brought me so far and taught me so much. Thank you to everyone! I can honestly say it has been the best time of my life!

Photos by: Henry Litjens