UNB Saint John Athletics
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Welden brings broad experience to women’s volleyball program

Author: Scott Briggs

Posted on Dec 3, 2019

Category: Volleyball , Varsity Sports , ACAA

SAINT JOHN -- Carolyn Welden’s career as a volleyball coach has taken her around the world.

She’s crossed oceans and continents, seemingly knowing no boundaries. Those journeys remain especially meaningful since she was also representing her country.

Welden is the former head coach of the Royal Military College women’s team, which coincided with her coaching the Canadian Forces national women’s squad. Her national sides competed in Brazil, India, Germany, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Netherlands and the United States. She’s bringing that broad experience to her new position as head coach of the UNB Saint John women’s team.
“It was just a great opportunity,” Welden said about her extensive travel. “The places I was able to travel to, it was just such a growth experience, both for myself and the athletes.”

Welden, who’s from Lachute, Que., in the Laurentians north of Montreal, also cherishes her time at RMC, where she helped prepare women to serve Canada at home and abroad.

“It was challenging but very rewarding,” she said. “The recruiting aspect was different. You’re recruiting future officers for the Canadian Forces, so there’s meeting and matching all the requirements that are needed to join the Forces, but with that, they’re also very dedicated student-athletes. It was a great environment to work in.”

Back in the CCAA

Before coaching RMC in the Ontario University Athletic conference, Welden coached Niagara College in the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association. She also served as an instructor at Niagara, covering everything from paramedics and police foundations, to recreation and health sciences.

“It’s nice to come back (to the CCAA), especially with a program such as UNB Saint John, where the people in the athletic department and the student-athletes are so dedicated and committed,” Welden said. “It’s a great opportunity.”

Welden’s academic background includes a recreation studies degree from Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont., but her education as a coach has never ended.

Aside from her status as a Chartered Professional Coach, Welden has attended many NCAA Division I and II women’s championships. She’s studied the on-court action while attending coaching workshops between matches.

“You’re talking to other people and seeing how things are done, and broadening your horizons,” she said. 

‘Trusting the process’

Legendary NCAA women’s volleyball coaches John Dunning (Pacific and Stanford) and Russ Rose (Penn State) are among those who’ve influenced Welden. Both NCAA icons looked for high achievers on and off the court, something Welden wants to continue at UNB Saint John.

“There’s a lot of learning to do, but we’re trusting the process,” said co-captain Dayna Alexander of Jacksontown. “I think we have some of those initial differences figured out, and we’re stronger and looking forward to what next semester has in store for us. We’ve learned what she wants and she knows us now, and we all know what is expected on and off the court, and what we need to do going forward.”

ACAA playoffs

Alexander, a fourth-year left-side hitter, wants another shot at the ACAA playoffs. She understands it’s ultimately up to the players.

“I think a big thing for us is how much we work together, and how much we support each other. We’re a small team, so we really need each other to show up every day and work hard. We have so much potential, and I can’t wait to see it on the court. I don’t think anybody should underestimate us. We didn’t start off as strong as we would have liked, but we have a lot in store for the rest of our season.”

Meanwhile, the rest of the roster includes Kaitlyn Sears (Olds, Alta.); Mattye Robson (Calgary, Alta.); Megan LeBlanc (Fredericton); Emilie Diesbourg (Essex, Ont.); Abigail Bernard (Hilden, N.S.); Montanna (Meyer Rosetown, Sask.); Emma Lynch (Quispamsis); Bridgitte Boone (Fredericton); Lauren Bayne (Halifax, N.S.); Alexandria Kerr (Rothesay); Jayme Glaspy (Rothesay), and Brianna Pynn (Saint John).