Jennifer Hinze and Liz Cordonier seek new challenges

WINNIPEG - (September 24, 2012) - Continuing our article from last week (Five Athletes Retire from the Senior Women's National Team), we will now focus on middle blocker, Jennifer Hinze and left side, Liz Cordonier, both alumni from the University of British Columbia and both natives of Vancouver, BC.

Jennifer Hinze (right photo)

Jen first wore a Team Canada jersey as a middle blocker on the junior national team in 2005 at a USA Volleyball High Performance Championship. She came back to the training centre the following summer to compete on the junior team again in the NORCECA Championship in Mexico. After that year, she continued to come back to the training centre to train with the senior teams until she made her first senior A roster in 2008 when she competed in an exhibition series versus a professional club team from Japan. When Arnd Ludwig took over the position of head coach in 2009, he had Jen on every single traveling roster, except for one when she had to return to university. She finished her career with 65 international matches, five of those being in the 2010 FIVB World Championship.

She played her university volleyball for the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds. During her five years there, she contributed to four CIS Championships. Not only did she receive numerous CIS and Can-West all-star awards, she also was very successful academically. She received the very prestigious CIS Desjardins Top 8 Academic All-Canadian Award for the 2009-2010 season. Recipients of this award have to be student-athletes with an average of over 80% and who are also leaders within their community.

Following the 2012 Olympic Qualification Tournament in April, Jen decided to retire from volleyball and focus on her goal of becoming a doctor. She is also coaching volleyball a grade 10 volleyball team in her hometown of Vancouver.

Here is what she has to say about her experience playing on Team Canada:

"Trying to sum up in a quote what playing on the National Team meant to me, and what it still means to me is a tall order. During my time on Team Canada I learned so much about myself, and all the experiences I had definitely helped shape me into who I am today. I made incredible friends, and now have the pleasure of knowing people from all across the country. I will especially miss being part of a team of people who did anything and everything to help us succeed: coaches, trainers, administration, and my team-mates. So thank you all! Although my time on the National Team is over, all the skills that I learned will stay with me and help me succeed in the next stage of my life."

Liz Cordonier (left photo)

Liz started her national team career on the 2007 senior B team, traveling to Bangkok, Thailand for the FISU Games. She came back to the training centre in 2008 where she made the senior A team and competed in an exhibition series versus a professional club team from Japan. After that season, she decided to compete on the FIVB World Tour on the beach court. She represented Canada in that fashion in 2009 and 2010 before deciding to re-join the senior indoor national team on the left side in 2011. She made the senior A team and was part of the traveling 12 athletes for every competition up until the 2012 Women's Olympic Qualification Tournament for the London Olympics. She finished her career with 33 international matches.

Liz had a very successful CIS career representing the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds. She contributed to three CIS Championships during this time. She received a number of CIS and Can-West awards, but in 2010 after her 5th year on the team, she was awarded the prestigious CIS Athlete of the Year award for all sports.

Following the Pan Am Games in Guadalajara in 2011, Liz landed her first professional indoor contract overseas in Finland. She re-joined Team Canada for the 2012 Women's Olympic Qualification Tournament in April for her last competition. She was recently accepted into the law program at the University of Calgary.

The following are some thoughts from Liz since retiring from Team Canada:

"It didn't take long after I hung up the shoes for me to realize that I would never be part of something as significant again. For the past five years of my life I've been identifying myself as a national team volleyball player and moving on is not easy to do. Fortunately there are certain things that you get to take with you once you leave the court. One is the experience of traveling the world and competing at the highest level of professional sport and getting to test your hard work and the work of your teammates on the international stage. Sometimes your efforts are rewarded and sometimes you fall short but each time you learn something. Another is the experience of representing your country and meeting others like you who are willing to make any sacrifice to see our flag raised and our anthem played. It is competitions like the Pan Am Games in Guadalajara in 2011 that put into perspective how we weren't only representing ourselves and our teammates, but all of our fellow athletes in Canada. It's a very empowering thing to be a part of. Finally it's the friendships that are forged on the court, in the weight room and on the road that makes being a volleyball player the greatest job in the world. Getting to go to work with your best friends every day is what I will miss most...even if it means running the beep test beside them. "