Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Women's Basketball Update

Hi Folks,

I realize this letter is long overdue. We have undergone a number of technology changes in the Basketball Office, including a new laptop, new software, new email client and more, providing some challenges in getting email names and addresses sorted out. To that end, you may be receiving this email in error, for which I apologize. Please clink on the link at the bottom of the page to have your email address removed from the list. Others that normally receive these newsletters may be accidentally excluded. If you are talking with Alumni/friends, etc. and they did not receive this email, please have them contact me and I will have their email address added.

Alumni Weekend

Saturday, September 24th is the day to make it to Kingston. Here is how the day is shaping up:

2:00pm Alumni vs. Alumni game (free admission)

4:00pm Queen’s vs. RMC (get an early peek at the 2011-12 Gaels in action)(free admission)

6:00pm Cocktail Reception and Silent Auction – Alumni Lounge ($20 includes complimentary appetizers)

During the Cocktail Reception, we will be recognizing five outstanding “retired” coaches that worked with our women’s program for 5 years or more:

Tim Orpin (1986-2009)

Janet Sanderson (nee Swords) (1992-2001)

Sam Miller (1999-2004)

Jennifer Roberston-Wilson (2001-2005)

Adam Lynn (2004-2011)

We will also be hosting a Silent Auction to help raise funds for our program, so please bring your checkbook and get in some early holiday shopping!

Everyone is welcome to join in all or part of the day. Please go to the registration site so that we have an idea of numbers for each of the events:

Coaching Staff

Bob Freeman returns for his second season with our program. Having observed and analysed his first season, he has been busy working with the players over the summer to better prepare us for the upcoming season. Bob has over 30 years of coaching experience at both the high school and club level, with great success.

Sarah Barnes becomes the first full-time (athletic staff) assistant coach for the women’s basketball program. Sarah was a former Laurier player, before transferring to Queen’s to complete her degrees and playing career. She finished as an OUA All-Star and stayed on at Queen’s to complete her Master’s Degree. Most recently she has been working in Toronto and coaching in the Toronto Triple Threat program, and has just returned from Chile, where she served as the manager for Canada Basketball’s U19 team. She brings a wealth of knowledge and practical experience and is a very impressive addition to our coaching staff.

Frosh Week (Orientation Week)

First year students will be flocking to Queen’s this weekend (Labour Day) to get settled into their dorms and get oriented to the campus. On the basketball front, we will be holding open scrimmages (all welcome) on Tuesday & Thursday, September 6 & 8 from 2:30 to 4:00pm (Upper Gym). On Monday, September 12 from 5:30 to 7:30pm we will conduct an open tryout in the Main Gym.


Our schedule is set for the year and available on our web site at:

Of special note (not shown on the schedule) is our “Tropical Training Camp.” The team will be training and competing in Puerto Rico during the Christmas Break. The training camp is intended to be an annual affair (location may vary) that allows the players to combine some serious training in a warm climate with some rest and rejuvenation. The players are very much looking forward to this addition to our training program.

The entire team is excited and anticipating great things for the coming season. Here we go……..



Dave Wilson

Head Coach, Women's Basketball

Office 404 K

Athletics & Recreation Centre

Queen's University

284 Earl Street

Kingston, Ontario K7L 2H8

613-533-6317 phone

613-533-6324 fax

Register for the Alumni & Friends Reception (September 24th):

Donate to Women's Basketball at:

Celebrating 100 Years of Tradition and Success (1910-2010)

And So It Begins

As I sit here planning for the annual selection process for men's volleyball, I can't help but get a bit nostalgic. I also can't believe it is my 25th season! The years have flown by, and while one might think it gets easier with time, I can assure you, the tryout process is never easy.

You would think that with 13 returning players and a solid handful of recruited rookies, we would be set and everything would be straight forward. Ahh, if it were only that easy! We have several players who are managing injuries and are 'uncertain' at this point. We are optimistic that when it really matters they will be in the mix and ready to challenge, but only time will tell. We also have a few players who have been going really hard all summer. Joren Zeeman spent almost 4 months doing 2-a-day sessions with the FISU team. It certainly paid off, as his team earned a 4th place finish in those games. Will Sidgwick is away at the U21 World Beach Championships right now and has put up some fantastic results all summer long.
In-coming rookie, Aaron Nusbaum has also been going hard on the sand - earning a bronze medal in the U19 World Championships. All three of these athletes will need a recovery period in the early fall.

I have always believed that one person's struggles are another person's opportunity - that good comes from bad - and with that in mind - our focus will be twofold, in the next 4-6 weeks.

First, we will pick the team. Some think this is a formality at this level, but believe me it isn't. It is something I lose sleep over, every year. My assistant coaches (Greg Stevenson and Gabriel DeGroot) and I will meet endlessly to talk about selections and more traumatically, cuts!

I hate closing doors for people; but there are only so many spots within the program. The veterans have to come back in great shape and ready to be put to the test. The old adage 'you can't be a good rookie in third year' rings true. The bar rises as one progresses through the ranks in seniority. Over the years, there have been some huge surprises in walk-ons and some occasional disappointments in returnees. I remember back in the late 90s, Mike Hartel walked on and ended up competing in the World University Games several years later. More recently, Chris Vandyk showed up in tryouts after a year of Lacrosse and we ultimately won an OUA Championship with him as a main middle for us. That is what the tryout process is. Five days to put it out there and earn your way into the squad, for what poses to be a very exciting year.

Our second focus is around building the base - with several new players there will be lots of work to do in creating a foundation of excellence. Supplementary training to bridge the gap between the rookies and the 4th-5th year crew is a priority. The other piece of that, of course, is to ensure that there is no gap, in terms of team. Strong leadership and a commitment to being one unit, regardless of year or experience, will be a key ingredient in building the path to achieve our goals.

For those looking for information on tryouts, it is pretty simple: we start Tuesday - the day after labour day. September 6th - and every day that week at 5:30pm (Tuesday to Saturday inclusive).

Tuesday the 6th is an informal night - so you can come out and get your timing back and handle a ball without the stress of selections. It is also a good chance to check out the level and see whether you want to give it a shot, if you are uncertain.

Wednesday the 7th is the open tryout. One night to show what you can do - and earn and invitation to the rest of the process. Anyone new, who wants to have a shot MUST attend that evening - 5:30 to 7:30pm in the Practice Gym on Level 3 (top floor) of the ARC.

We expect the team to be named by Monday September 12th.

This time of year is exciting and stressful. I look forward to the 13th!

Welcome back and here we go again!

Brenda Wills
Head Coach, Men's Volleyball
Queen's Athletics and Recreation
284 Earl Street
Kingston, Ont
K7L 3N6
Off: 613 533-6289
Fax: 613 533-6324
Facebook: Queen's University Men's Volleyball
To Donate to the Men's Volleyball Team go to:
Home of the CIS Men's Volleyball Championships - March 2-4, 2012

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

FISU Summer for Women's Volleyball

Well I just arrived back from an amazing summer experience as a member of Team Canada's coaching staff for the National "B" Team Squad that competed at the 26th Summer Universiade Games held in Shenzhen, China. To tell you that the whole experience was awesome would probably sell so much of the summer short. But it was awesome and so much more.
I feel like everyday I learned something - whether it was about volleyball, about myself or about the characters of others around me I constantly felt like I had to be in a state of high awareness just to catch everything.
There were some really cool concepts that the Head Coach Alain Pelletier introduced that I will definately bring back to my program. Particularly looking at a having a young squad this season, I think the concepts we introduced to the team this summer may help us have less errors in crucial situations.
The other Assistant Coach Lee Carter has some great concepts around leadership that I have decided to introduce here as well. He has done some great work around team leadership with his university squad and he brought that forward to this team.
Me, well I became fondly known as "Big Momma" to the girls. It became my job to help bridge the gap between the coaching staff and the athletes. The girls talked, I listened then I sat down with the rest of the coaching staff to discuss. Regardless of what came out of our coaches meetings the girls all felt heard and respected and I believe that as a coaching staff we were ultimately pretty responsive.
Last but definately not least was our team therapist she kept us moving and ticking from day to day. Not to mention she was the most awesome roommate you could have when you are sharing a room in Thailand or China. I don't honestly know what I would have done without her there and I know without question the girls couldn't have survived the trip without her TLC.
From the start we got along as a coaching staff. There was no jockeying for position. We each knew how important our role was in making this team tick and accomplishing our goals for the summer. We each had the opportunity to voice our opinions and we had each other's backs forming a solid and cohesive coaching staff. Without question working with each of these individuals was an honour and so much fun.
So how did we do at the games? Well we finished in 11th place. But don't let the placing fool you. We were statistically one of the three youngest squads at the event and finished the highest of those squads. Several of the countries were using the FISU games as a preparation for 2012 Olympic qualifiers being held this fall and had sent their "A" teams in preparation.
For the top six teams in the tournament the vast majority of their squads were filled with the players that would make up their 2016 Olympic squads supported by one or two bench players for the 2012 Olympics. So 11th is pretty respectable and it qualifies us for the next FISU Games to be held in Russia.
I didn't get to see the girls play as much as I would have liked. As the third assistant my role was to scout other teams - which often meant being at a different venue while the team played. I always had the girls close in my heart though and one time called them towards the end of the fourth set vs. Sweden to see how we were doing. It was funny because I started to ask our interpreter how we were doing and she handed the phone to Lee on the bench. He was in total shock I'm sure but handled it like a champion. Anyway we were down but found a way to come back and win that set. I'd like to think my phone call gave them that little boost they needed.
So here we are let me introduce you to Team Canada "B" Squad:
But the FISU Summer is now over and I'm back at Queen's ready for the new season. We have some great athletes coming in this fall and I'm super excited to see our progress over the season.
In addition we have some fantastic returning players - Becky Billings is coming back after a summer spent with the Beach National Team and competition at the FISU Games too. She had a great summer and I know what she brings back to our program will help us grow faster this year. There is also the play of both Natalie Gray and Anna Pedjase to look forward to this season and I have no fear that the rest of the squad will also step up and let their voices be heard. It's an exciting time for us as we said goodbye to veterans last season and now open up opportunties to others.
I also have some additional good news - Colleen Ogilvie will be joining Team Canada at the Full Time Training Centre this fall. She had a terrific tryout for the team in May but needed more training time to be match ready. So for now we bid farewell to Colleen and wish her all the best as she starts to live out her dream as a member of the national team squad.
It has been some amazing kind of year for Queen's women's volleyball, it's been some years since we have had a presence at the National Team level and out of this past season we had two tryout for the indoor squad and one on the beach.
So thanks for reading and next time I'll write about the top 5 things I learned from competing at FISU.
See you soon,
Joely Christian-Macfarlane
Head Coach, Women's Volleyball
Athletics and Recreation Centre
284 Earl St.
Kingston, ON K7L 3N6
613-533-6000 ext. 79190
Donate to Women's Volleyball at:
We appreciate your support.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Training Camp

Hello Gaels fans!

Tomorrow is the first step in the 2011 season with tryouts and fitness testing. Can't wait to see everyone!

Looking forward to updating the blog...

All the best,

Monday, August 22, 2011

One week in...

Well, we're a week into camp and the team is beginning to take shape. With a new-found focus on possession play, there has been a lot of learning that has taken place over the course of a week, and still much more to go. It's the simple things that will make us stronger, and if we continue to focus on quality first touches, passing and receiving, and communication, we will be a team that will not only challenge for titles year in and year out, but will also be enjoyable to watch!

Competition is fierce this year, with another quality recruiting class joining us at camp. This will undoubtedly add to the quality of our team this year, but more importantly to the quality of our program moving forward. It's a testament to the hard work players have put into off-season training, and the coaches into recruiting.

We have a few big tests coming up to see where our team is in comparison to quality opposition, with exhibition games against Cornell University on Thursday, McGill on Saturday and either U of T or Western on Sunday (Old Four). Our preseason play comes to an end on Saturday, September 7th against the University of Ottawa on Tindall Field here at Queen's University.

I hope all who follow my blog are well, and sincerely hope you continue to follow us this season!

Until next time...

Coach Gencarelli