Abbotsford – The University of the Fraser Valley women’s volleyball program has signed three outstanding athletes as it begins to build its group of 2021 recruits.
Head coach Janelle Rozema prioritizes securing top local talent in her recruiting strategy, and to that end, Sydney Wright of Surrey, B.C. fits the bill. Rozema also attracted an out-of-province prospect in Edmonton’s Kinna Fisher, and an international standout in Israel’s Lian Shworts.
“As a group, they’re driven and willing to work hard, and that fits in really well with our program,” Rozema enthused. “Beyond that, they bring different experiences and a variety of approaches to the game that will enrich our team.”
6’1” outside hitter
Tel Aviv, Israel
Hof Hasharon / KTTA Volleyball
Shworts is a highly accomplished prospect who has represented Israel internationally at the U23 level, participating in European championship qualifying. She played at the Israel Volleyball Academy, and picked up game MVP honours in the Israeli Women’s Volleyball First League.
“We’re really looking forward to Lian bringing some international experience and a diversity of tactics and techniques from across the world to our program,” Rozema said. “She’s got great size and strength, and hits the ball really hard. She’ll be able to put international-calibre pace on the ball. And though she’s a dominant player in the frontcourt, she’s also got some great backcourt skills with serve-receive and defence.”
“I chose UFV because it looks like a warm place to study and play,” said Shworts, who plans to pursue a Bachelor of Education degree at UFV. “My goal is to become a better volleyball player, to enjoy the platform, to meet new friends and to experience a lot of adventures.”
Strathcona High / Pandas Volleyball Club
Fisher’s decorated prep career saw her win back-to-back Alberta provincial club championships with Pandas Volleyball Club. She also helped her school squad at Strathcona High win a Metro League title in 2019, and she was part of Team Alberta at the U15, U16 and U17 levels, winning a silver medal at the Western Canada Summer Games in 2019. Fisher is also accomplished in beach volleyball, winning provincial and junior high championships in 2018, and senior high school bronze in last season.
“We’re really excited about Kinna,” Rozema said. “She’s got great knowledge and experience – she’s an intelligent setter with great set distribution. She’s someone who knows how to win, coming from outstanding club and high school programs, and she’s also someone who knows how to do what it takes on and off the court. We trust that she’ll continue to do that hard work at the next level.”
“Playing with UFV offers me an incredible opportunity to compete against Canada’s strongest teams while receiving a very personalized education,” said Fisher, who plans to study biology at UFV. “Coach Rozema is an excellent coach, and the players on the team were welcoming and clearly love their school and being a Cascade. I am excited for the opportunity to contribute to launching UFV into U SPORTS.
“My dream is to play high-level volleyball while also achieving academic excellence. I want to push myself to be better and to excel in the faster-paced game. I’m determined to be an important part of building a strong, successful volleyball program that thrives at the U SPORTS level.”
6’0” outside hitter
Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary / Velocity Volleyball Club
Wright had an outstanding high school volleyball career at Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary – last fall, the Team BC alum led the Panthers to the title at the Coquitlam RCMP Red Serge Classic and a silver medal at the B.C. 4A provincial championship. The previous season, her squad also won provincial silver at the junior girls level, with Wright earning first team tournament all-star honours.
“Sydney is a high flyer – she’s touching the heights that we’re looking for as a Canada West standard,” Rozema said. “She has experience at multiple positions, and is willing to do whatever her team needs her to do. She’s also gotten great experience with the provincial program and a successful club program at Velocity. Sydney is a very positive player and a great teammate, and it’s evident how much she loves and enjoys the game.”
“I chose UFV because of the welcoming coaches, it’s close to home, and it’s an exciting opportunity to help build the team in its new division,” said Wright, who plans to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree at UFV. “With the Cascades, I hope to become the best volleyball player I can, and make lifelong connections with friends and coaches.”