The Queenâ€™s Gaels womenâ€™s volleyball team will feature five newcomers for the 2012-13 season. Head Coach Joely Christian-Macfarlane made the announcement today. The defending provincial champions will feature a pair of sister acts next year, as Brett Hagarty (Aurora, Ont.) and Shannon Neville (Cambridge, Ont.) join their sisters Katie Hagarty and Katie Neville on the squad. Rounding out the Gaelsâ€™ 2012 incoming class are Durham Region stars Niki Slikboer (Ajax, Ont.), Becky Wilson (Pickering, Ont.), along with Ali Shamie of Toronto.
Brett Hagarty â€“ 5â€™ 9â€ť â€“ Left Side â€“ Aurora, Ont. / Aurora H.S. / York Region Storm
Brett Hagarty won the Ontario Volleyball Associationâ€™s Evelyn Holick award in 2011-12 for her determination, leadership, athletic ability, sportsmanship and fair play. Hagarty is a member of Team Ontario Black, and will be competing at the National Team Challenge Cup in Winnipeg. At last yearâ€™s NTCC, Hagarty led Ontario 18 to a silver medal, and was named to the All-Tournament team. Hagarty is also a provincial team member in Beach volleyball, and led her club to fourth place at the National Club Championships. She led Aurora to three straight OFSAA berths, and was the only player voted a regional all-star by York Region Media Group in both basketball and volleyball.
Christian-Macfarlane on Hagarty: â€śIâ€™m really excited to have Brett join us. She is a fantastic athlete and a wonderful individual who makes others around her better. Brett brings so much drive and determination with her and her presence is felt immediately. She is very committed and willing to play any position to help the team. Her strong and complete skill level will make her an impact player for us from day one.â€ť
Shannon Neville â€“ 6â€™ 1â€ť â€“ Outside Hitter / Middle â€“ Cambridge, Ont. / Jacob Hespeler H.S. / Kitchener-Waterloo Predators
Neville has also had a taste of national competition, as she played with Hagarty on Team Ontario 18 at last yearâ€™s NTCC in Winnipeg. In addition, Neville has enjoyed success at both the high school and club levels, leading the Kitchener-Waterloo Predators Purple team to a provincial silver medal in 2011 and a 5th-place finish this season. In high school, she led Jacob Hespeler of Cambridge to four consecutive regional titles, and a bronze medal at this seasonâ€™s AAA OFSAA championship. In addition to her volleyball success, Shannon has also racked up awards in Badminton and Field Hockey earning a Waterloo County Singles championship for badminton and MVP honours.
Christian-Macfarlane on Neville:Â â€śShannon is a gifted young player who I have had my eye on since meeting her in 2009. She comes from a great volleyball family; she is a strong leader, very physical and a great competitor who will bring size, strength and a knack for success to our team. Iâ€™m excited to have this talented young athlete join us and look forward to watching her develop and grow at this level.â€ť
Niki Slikboer â€“ 6â€™ 2â€ť â€“ Middle Blocker â€“ Ajax, Ont. / Port Perry H.S. / Durham Attack
One of the top middle blocker prospects in the province, Slikboer is a two-time member of Team Ontario and led Region 4 to a gold medal at the 2010 Ontario Summer Games. At six-foot-two, the Windsor native will bring some much-needed size and provincial team experience in the middle to the Gaels squad.
Christian-Macfarlane on Slikboer: â€śWhat impresses me most is her ability and interest in improving. At the National Championships she was placed outside her comfort zone and asked to play in a new position at which she did very well. It is that tremendous amount of untapped talent that excites me about Niki joining us in the fall. I look forward to watching her develop during her career here at Queenâ€™s.â€ť
Becky Wilson â€“ 5â€™ 5â€ť â€“ Libero â€“ Pickering, Ont. / St. Maryâ€™s C.S.S. / Leaside Lightning
Wilson is also in the provincial team system, and is regarded as one of the top libero prospects in the country. The Pickering native led the Leaside Lightning U18 win their first-ever Ontario championship last season, in the teamâ€™s first year of existence. In 2011, Wilson played on Team Ontario with Hagerty and Neville, and was one of only two Ontarians named to the All-Tournament team.
Christian-Macfarlane on Slikboer: â€śThey say good things come in small packages and that is very true with Becky. She is a dynamite leader and has a strong and dynamic presence on the court. She brings with her an amazing competitive spirit which will fit right in to our team environment in practice and in competition. We are very excited about Becky joining us and bringing that drive with her this fall.
Ali Shamie â€“ 5â€™ 8â€ť â€“ Setter â€“ Toronto, Ont. / Havergal College / Leaside Lightning
Rounding out the recruiting class is Ali Shamie of Toronto. She, with Wilson, led the Leaside Lightning to an Ontario Championship last season, and has also had success at the high school level. She led Havergal to the Consolation Championship at the 2012 OFSAA AAA championship, after the Gators went 12-0 in the Conference of Independent Schools Athletic Association.
Christian-Macfarlane on Slikboer: â€śAside from her ability to lead an outstanding and effective offense, Ali has the intangibles we look for in a setter. She has an incredibly calm demeanor; she works hard and is determined to be the best. She has a way of taking care of business that allows the passers and hitters to look great around her. I am really excited to add Ali to the team next season. â€ś
The Gaels open the defense of their OUA championship on September 12, at the Ryerson Invitational Tournament in Toronto.
Story submitted by John Edwards for Queen’s University Athletics & Recreation | GoGaelsGo.com