Nadine Alphonse ready for challenge at national team selection camp

WINNIPEG – After spending the winter season with the national training centre group in Winnipeg, Nadine Alphonse of Laval was thrilled to greet some familiar faces among the 50 players on hand Monday for the first day of the women’s national volleyball team selection camp.

Several of those players including Tammy Mahon of Holland, Man., Sarah Pavan of Kitchener, Ont., and Tiffany Dodds of Lucky Lake, Sask.,  all playing pro in Europe this winter, were Alphonse’s teammates on last year’s national squad which competed at the world championships in Japan.

With an Olympic qualification tournament capping this season, Alphonse knows it will be harder than ever to land a berth on the 2011 squad.

‘’We have a busy season highlighted by the Pan Ams and Olympic qualifying,’’ said Alphonse, 27. ‘’So it’s a special year. It’s going to be a challenge to make this team. There are a lot of young players who have arrived here in great shape and have fine-tuned their technical game.’’

Playing a lot of matches this summer should help the Canadian squad in its Olympic qualification bid. Alphonse feels what the Canadian team lacks the most right now is game experience. ‘’We’ve got all the tools the other teams have,’’ she said.

On Monday, the players underwent various physical drills in the morning then had their first afternoon session on court.

‘’The first day is always stressful because you never know what to expect, especially with the physical drills’’ said Alphonse, a national team player since 2006 and a former standout middle with the Université de Montréal. ‘’But once we got on court it was very exciting. Most of us haven’t seen each other in at least five months.’’

Alphonse only started playing volleyball at age 19 in CEGEP. She spent 14 years in synchronized figure skating and was also track and field athlete excelling in the high jump and 400-metre. With the Université de Montréal she won three provincial crowns and two seasons ago received the Therese Quigley award recognizing excellence in volleyball, academics and community involvement.

Born in Montreal, Alphonse’s parents are originally from Haiti and several of her family members were affected by last year’s devastating earthquake. Alphonse made three attempts to travel to Haiti last spring, but each time the flights were cancelled due to security concerns.

In addition to the selection of the Senior Women’s Team, the developmental ‘B Team’ will be chosen at this selection camp. The B Team will train in Winnipeg throughout July and compete on behalf of Canada in the 2011 World Universiade Games in Shenzhen China from Aug 12-23.

The camp’s sessions are in the Frank Kennedy Centre’s Brown and Gold Gym and continue Tuesday, May 17: 9 – 10:30am and 1:30 – 6pm Wednesday, May 18: 9am – 6pm Thursday, May 19: 9 – 11:30am and 3 – 6pm.

For more information please contact: Kevin Parsons Phone – (204)474-6645 Email –

Participating Athletes: Nadine Alphonse (QC, Université de Montreal), Simone Asque (IL, University of Virginia), Lisa Barclay (MB, University of British Columbia), Carla Bradstock (BC, University of British Columbia), Lucy Charuk (BC, University of Houston), Vanessa Chorkawy (ON, Lakehead University), Beth Clark (SK, University of Regina), Elizabeth Cordonier (BC, University of British Columbia), Dana Cranston (BC, Colorado State University), Tiffany Dodds (SK, University of Alberta), Jaclyn Ellis (ON, University of Alberta), Kelsie English (ON, University of Ottawa), Marisa Field (BC, University of British Columbia), Kelci French (AB, University of Alberta), Janie Guimond (QC, Université de Montreal), Brooke Halvorsen (BC, University of Calgary), Claire Hanna (AB, University of British Columbia), Jennifer Hinze (BC, University of British Columbia), Tasha Holness (AB, University of Alberta), Kristi Hunter (MB, University of Manitoba), Noemie Lefebvre (QC, Syracuse University), Alexandra Lojen (QC, University of Montreal), Tammy Mahon (MB, University of Manitoba), Shanice Marcelle (BC, University of British Columbia), Katie Matthews (ON, Queen’s University), Tricia Mayba (MB, University of Manitoba), Colette Meek-Johnson (AB, Arizona State University), Marie-Pier Murray-Methot (QC, Universite de Montreal), Alexandra Lojen (QC, University of Montreal), Tonya Mokelki (SK, Colorado State University), Sarah Moncks (AB, University of Calgary), Daphnee Andre-Morin (QC, McGill University), Marie-Sophie Nadeau (QC, University of Montreal), Lauren O’Reilly (BC, Trinity Western University), Coleen Ogilvie (AB, Queen’s University), Brittney Page (BC, Eastern Washington University), Tanya Paulin (NB, University of New Brunswick), Sarah Pavan (ON, University of Nebraska), Alicia Perrin (BC, Trinity Western College), Malena Rapaport (BC, University of Toronto), Michaela Ressor (ON, Samford University), Kyla Richey (BC, University of British Columbia), Lauren Sears (NS, University of Winnipeg), Michelle Sweeting (SK, University of Regina), Jaimie Thibeault (AB, University of Montana), Amy Toews (MB, University of Manitoba), Tesca Andrew-Wasylik (ON, Wilfrid Laurier University), Julie Young (AB, University of Calgary), Marisa Field (BC, University of British Columbia), Sarah Moncks (AB, University of Calgary), Brooke Halvorsen (BC, University of Calgary), Krista Zubick (AB, University of Alberta).