UNB Saint John Athletics
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Volleyballers poised to do something really special

Author: Scott Briggs

Posted on Feb 27, 2023

Category: Volleyball , Varsity Sports , ACAA

There’s a lot to look forward to if you’re playing for the UNB Saint John women’s volleyball team next season.

“I get goosebumps thinking about it,” said sophomore Sydney Flower. “I know how much potential we have, and I know that’s just going to grow even more as we train throughout the summer. I think we could do something really special.”

Sydney Flower playing defense at the 2022-23 ACAA Volleyball Championships.

Flower’s optimism is based on her team’s quarter-final win over the University of King’s College at this year’s ACAA championship tournament. The Seawolves prevailed 3-0 (25-21, 25-16, 25-14). The upstart squad then lost 3-1 to host Mount Saint Vincent University in the semi-final (18-25, 25-21, 25-13, 25-22).

But the Seawolves took solace in reaching the playoffs and avening two previous losses to UKC.

“We went into that (quarter-final) game wanting to show them what Seawolves volleyball looks like for real since they didn’t get to see that both times we played them before,” Flower said. “We kind of caught them off guard because they hadn’t seen that from us before. We played very consistently. It was very satisfying and we were all very happy.”

When Flower refers to “Seawolves volleyball,” the 19-year-old from Fredericton is talking about versatility and athleticism. And no one epitomizes that more than she does. One of the league’s top middle players, Flower also filled in admirably at left side and right side when injuries left holes in the lineup.

“I feel like we have a lot of great athletes who can adapt to whatever we throw at them,” Seawolves head coach Colin Chambers said. “Our versatility has been great to see as a coach. When you can go through drills in practice and then immediately see that pay off in the next match, then you know the athletes are listening and working hard, and making sure those skills are being implemented. I think versatility is a natural extension of being coachable, being athletic and working hard.”

Flower’s efforts earned her a spot on the ACAA’s all-conference second team, while Seawolves left-side and fellow Fredericton product Emily Robichaud garnered a berth on the first team. The two helped the Seawolves finish the regular season with a 9-9 record, tied for fourth-most wins in the nine-team conference.

“Next year, I expect us to take another step,” Chambers said. “Having the playoff experience under our belts and with a good chunk of the team coming back next year, I think we’re going to be even more motivated. Hopefully we’re more confident now and understand we’re as good as any team in the league. We have the potential to take those next steps forward.”

A key part of that process is Flower, who gained valuable experience as captain of New Brunswick’s Canada Games team last summer.

“That was a really cool experience,” she said. “I’ve never really seen myself as a leader, but I guess other people see those qualities in me, which has really brought them out more. It really made me realize how much of a leader I can be, and it was a big responsibility to captain that team and make sure that we represented New Brunswick well. It was an honour to be the captain of that team, and it really brought out the leadership skills that I might not have been aware I had.”