DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
With a desire to try life away from home and a connection already to the Winnipeg Wesmen, Alysha Goundrey's post-secondary decision became a relatively easy one.
Goundrey, a 5-foot-10 left side from Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary School in Surrey, B.C., has committed to the Wesmen women's volleyball program for the 2020-21 season.
She will enroll in the Faculty of Arts and have five years of eligibility.
Goundrey is the second Tweedsmuir product to commit to the Wesmen in the past three years, joining setter Mikaela Cameron, who will enter her third year.
She joins a 2020 recruiting class that already includes Transcona middle blocker Christine Kolbuck, Leo Remillard setter Breanne Bazin and Dakota middle blocker and left side Taylor McGillivray and Jaya Dzikowicz.
Goundrey knew she wanted to branch out when looking for a university.
"As I got older, I was winning MVPs, I was in tournaments, I was captain of my teams and it really started to feel like a possibility," she said. "I was approached at quite a young age by a couple of local schools, but last year I kinda decided my main goal was I wanted to move away for university, regardless if that meant playing volleyball or not."
Goundrey played one year alongside Cameron with the Panthers as a Grade 10 playing up on the senior squad. And Goundrey tapped Cameron for some guidance when she was looking for her post-secondary options. Cameron mentioned Goundrey's name to head coach Phil Hudson and the wheels were in motion. A week or so later, the Wesmen were in Langley, B.C., for a weekend series at Trinity Western and Goundrey got a chance to meet and train with the team.
"I absolutely loved Coach Phil … all the girls made me feel so welcome right off the bat," she said.
"… Mikaela has told me so many great things. She said the Wesmen is the best team she's ever been a part of, never been a part of a team with better girls, better coaching. So I'm so excited for a chance, a new team."
Goundrey was a second-team provincials all-star in leading the Panthers to a silver-medal finish at the B.C. AAAA level in 2019 and also helped the team to a provincial bronze in 2018.
Hudson said Goundrey has a chance to make an early impact at the university level.
"She's an all-around very good player," Hudson said. "Her teams, whether high school or club teams, have always done very well — top two or three in B.C. — and one of the reasons is her play. She's got a great work ethic and she's going to be a good fit for the Wesmen. She jumps really well, she's fast, she's got quick feet and her volleyball IQ is very high."
A multisport athlete who participates in basketball, soccer, rugby and dance, Goundrey said she's well aware of the challenges ahead of her to see court time on a team that graduates just two players and has a core returning that made the Canada West post-season.
"I would be totally open to defensive specialist, coming in playing back row because I do understand that I'm smaller but I love hitting, I love playing back row, I love serving," she said. "I'm excited to be there and be fully invested in my school and my volleyball."