GPRC Wolves Women's Volleyball 2014/15
New Women's Volleyball Coach Announced
GPRC Wolves Athletics is proud to announce the appointment of Jeff Smith to the Head Coach position of Wolves Women’s Volleyball.
Jeff is no stranger to the GPRC Wolves Volleyball Program. Most recently, Jeff has experience as Assistant Coach under the leadership of John Slaunewhite during the 2013-14 Women’s ACAC season; earning a Silver medal on home-turf allowing The Wolves to compete at the CCAA Women’s Volleyball Nationals where they returned with a 2014 National Silver Medal.
In addition to the Women’s program, Jeff was involved extensively with our Men’s program from 2000 until 2008, working alongside Head Coaches such as Ron Thomson, Loren Jacula, and Mike Lauzon. For a short time Jeff joined SAIT Polytechnic as the Men’s Volleyball Assistant Coach, graduating to Co-Head Coach by 2013.
Alongside Jeff’s experience with the Wolves he has also coached U16 and U17 Men’s Team Alberta squads who have had much success placing top 3 numerous times in the Western Elite Championships. Jeff has been heavily involved with Volleyball for nearly 2 decades, furthermore, he has been an exuberant contributor to the growth and development of the Wolves Volleyball program (Club and College levels) and Volleyball in the Grande Prairie community. During this time he has fostered the growth of many young all-stars and watched them excel at Provincial and National levels.
Jeff or ‘Smitty’ as he’s better known, now takes full reigns of the College Women’s Volleyball Program and is excited for the opportunity. Jeff possesses a personality that is both easy-going and stern to which his athletes can easily connect with, therefore, remaining comfortable respecting the direction he takes the program. As the new Head Coach of the Women’s Volleyball team, Jeff’s vast experience and understanding of the game will no doubt allow him to continue to maintain the elite program as a top Provincial and National contender.
Wolves Sign Import
April 29th, 2014
Grande Prairie, Alberta- Grande Prairie Regional College and their Women’s Volleyball Program are pleased to announce the signing of New Zealand native Zoe Cronin. Zoe has an extensive background in indoor and beach volleyball where she has represented New Zealand internationally on the beach. Zoe is an excellent defensive player with the ability to play left side.
“GPRC I believe provides a place for me to challenge explore and grow as an athlete and student. The Wolves Volleyball team have a very successful volleyball history and I feel honored to have the opportunity to become a part of such a talented team. The Wolves are hardworking, high achievers who I know will help guide and develop my ability and volleyball play to the next level. I love that the team and school provides many opportunities to give back to the community and abroad positively. Can't wait to arrive in September 2014”.-stated Cronin.
Coach Slauenwhite commented, “I’m excited to have signed an athlete such as Zoe Cronin. Zoe is very impressive as a student-athlete coming out of high school. Her work ethic on the court is exemplified by her dedication as a student in the classroom and hard worker in the gym. I was very impressed with her video, our discussions and her overall maturity as a young athlete. I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to work with her”.
Loedel Returns To Wolves
April 29th, 2014
Grande Prairie, Alberta- Grande Prairie Regional College and their Women’s Volleyball Program are pleased to announce the return of Sarah Loedel from Prince George, British Columbia. Sarah is a 6’1” middle blocker who has the ability to play as an outside hitter.
Coach Slauenwhite commented- “We are excited to have Sarah returning to the Wolves family for the 2014-15 season. Sarah played a significant role with the team a few years ago, which will help her make an immediate impact on her return. Sarah has been coaching over the past two years, which I feel will help her see the game in a different manner.”
"I am so incredibly excited to return to the Wolves next season. I was heartbroken when I had to make the difficult decision in my second year to leave due to health issues. I didn't think it would have taken me this long (to return) when I first left, but I’m extremely happy that I will be returning. The Wolves family here at GPRC was so supportive of me when I left and through my journey of getting healthy. I didn't want my return to volleyball to be anywhere else.” - Stated Loedel.
Clayton Commits to GPRC
April 29th, 2014
Grande Prairie, Alberta- Grande Prairie Regional College and their Wolves Women’s volleyball program are happy to announce the signing of 5’9” St. Albert native Nicole Clayton. Clayton helped lead her NAVC Club team to a Volleyball Alberta 17U bronze medal in 2013, and this past fall, led her St. Albert Catholic High School team to an Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association 3A silver medal.
“Nicole is an athlete that I have known since the 2012 Alberta Winter Games held in Spruce Grove. I quickly noticed her athleticism and on-court leadership while playing at the games. I’m looking forward to adding an athlete such as Nicole to our roster for the 2014-15 season.”-Slauenwhite
Clayton added-“GPRC has been at the top of my list of colleges that I have wanted to play for. They have always had a strong volleyball program, and players with great work ethic. I am really excited to join the team this upcoming year. GPRC has a great athletic program along with academics. I am really looking forward to being on a team with great athletes. I’m really looking forward to the 2014-15 season.”-Nicole Clayton
Wolves Add Groenenboom
April 29th, 2014
Grande Prairie, Alberta- Grande Prairie Regional College and their Women’s Volleyball Program are pleased to announce the signing of Emily Groenenboom. Emily is a 5’9” native of St. Albert, Alberta and is graduating from St. Albert Catholic High School. This past November, her team won a silver medal at the Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association provincial championships. Emily has grown up playing club volleyball for the NAVC Pandas out of Edmonton, where she captured a Volleyball Alberta provincial bronze medal in April of 2013.
“Volleyball has been a passion of mine for a long time. I have played club volleyball for a number of years and high school volleyball at St. Albert Catholic High School where we won silver at 3A provincials this past year. The opportunity to go to get a college education and get to play volleyball was an exciting prospect for me. I received an invitation to come see Grande Prairie Regional College and ultimately selected it as the college I will attend in the fall of 2014. I had a few different schools to choose from but felt that GPRC had the right educational programs that I was looking at taking along with a volleyball program that has a great reputation. When I met the current team it had a great atmosphere that I feel would help me to develop as a player and person. I am excited to be coming up to GPRC to start my college career”.
“I’m very excited to have signed an athlete such as Emily. She is a very dynamic outside hitter with a heavy arm. Emily will challenge for playing time in her first year through her hard work and dedication to the sport. I really liked how she interacted with her team and coaches any time that I have been able to watch her compete. We are all excited to have Emily join our team and program. Stated John Slauenwhite
Great Cuban Experience for the Wolves
GPRC Wolves Women’s Volleyball team travelled to Havana, Cuba over the Christmas break and had the opportunity to meet and train with Cuban athletes.
The Wolves competed against a team that contained 5 Junior National Cuban team members, each day
learning more about the game. The Cuban team was a group of girls that were chosen to compete against the Wolves bringing a mix of different ages and levels. According to Jordan Drezet “I was paired up with a 16 year old girl who was outstanding, they [the Cuban players] pushed us to get better”. The Wolves ended up playing 4 matches winning two and losing two.
As far as technical play, the women learned a great deal about the game. Amy Norman goes on to say that “they [the Cuban players] may play the same technically, but their enthusiasm was amazing”. Tonya Dueck adds that “their [the Cuban players] communication was much different than ours and would use a simple sound, it would be like us calling for the ball”. Jordan Drezet tells an amusing story that “when we were playing pepper with our partners in warm-up, they would mock us when we were saying “mine” because they thought we sounded like birds”.
The tour was a cultural exchange where the team stayed in a hotel and experienced many areas of the city, notably having the opportunity to experience the Cuban lifestyle and discover some of their traditions. Coach John Slauenwhite adds that “we had the opportunity to visit the Havana Harbour, Old Havana, visit a fortress built in the 1500’s and experience some authentic Cuban salsa dancing”.
The team also visited a local orphanage, played games, spent time with the children and gave gifts from Canada. Amy Norman says that “the experience was very humbling and made me appreciate Canada a lot more. Spending time with the orphans and being able to give to less fortunate children felt great”.
The women got to know their Cuban opponents quite well and after the competition ended and on the last day of training, they exchanged gifts. Aidan Lutzman notes that “we gave them our old shoes, t-shirts, knee pads, and so on and in exchange we received things that they might have gotten from the market or a gift that meant something to them”. Drezet adds that the experience “made you want to give more and more to them because you can see that many of the players didn’t have shoes in great condition. It makes you really appreciate everything we have access to and are able to buy if we need”.
Coach Slauenwhite concludes that “the trip was a great way for the team to experience another culture as well as build on team bonding. The girls have come back refreshed, determined and very excited to start the second half of our season as we host the ACAC conference championships here in Grande Prairie”.
For More information on Wolves Women's Volleyball contact:
Jeff Smith, Head Coach
Grande Prairie Regional College