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Team unity arrives for UCC women's volleyball

Their roster hasn't changed but the University College of the Cariboo women's volleyball squad is a new team.

Their roster hasn't changed but the University College of the Cariboo women's volleyball squad is a new team.

Following a disappointing first half of the season, the Sun Demons have had a strong showing since the Christmas break, including coming within two points of beating Douglas College, ranked number 9 in the country, last weekend.

Coach Carrie Barrett says a tournament in Calgary during the break served as a seasonal low for the team, but it was a place they needed to go.

"There was a lot of good teams there and we played the worst ever. It opened a lot of eyes. We had to decide from there whether we were going to play or pack it all up. When we came back, we had a much better attitude and a will to fight."

Second-year power Allison Denby agrees.

"We weren't playing very well together until then but we weren't really playing bad compared to the teams in our league. That tournament really made us realize how bad we were and what needed to change."

Denby says the team is now playing more as a cohesive unit on the floor and it is showing. "We're not doing anything as individuals out there anymore; we're all playing as one."

With a more unified attitude, there has been a marked increase in confidence, she adds.

"We used to get really nervous before playing certain teams because they were thought to be good. Now, we're seeing we can not only play with them, but beat them, too."

A boost in confidence is also coming from the increased level of play from a number of senior players.

Local Reid Brodie sits in ninth place for average aces per game with .57 and 13th in stuff blocks per game with .62. Denby currently sits ninth in kills, averaging 2.39 a game.

Barrett adds there is one other attitude change she has seen in her players and she would like to see continue.

"I'm not a very good loser. I don't like it at all. In the past, this team didn't like losing but they accepted it. There was the attitude when we won we were lucky or just happen to play well that time.

"Now that we're winning or coming close consistently, they learning it isn't a fluke. We win because we deserved to."

This weekend, the Demons' new-found attitudes and confidence will face a tough test as the College of New Caledonia is in town Saturday.

CNC is also coming off a recent close game with Douglas College but, like true competitors, Barrett says they will not be backing down one bit.

"This weekend, we want to win. We will win."

Games go Saturday at 2 p.m. for the women and 4 p.m. for the men at the UCC gymnasium.