Mac players, locals get nod as OUA volleyball stars

The York Lions near-perfect season is reflected in the Ontario University Athletics women’s volleyball East Division award winners.

Antonia Stathakos (Brampton) is the East Division Libero of the Year. The fifth-year senior was among the OUA leaders in digs this season with 259, an average of 4.62 a set to lead the division. York finished the regular season with an 18-1 record.

Teammate Thinesa Sriskandarajah (Scarborough) is the East Division’s Rookie of the Year. She was second in OUA averaging 3.38 kills per set for a total of 203 on the season. She also contributed 20 service aces, 12 blocks and 127 digs during the regular season.

Her coach, Arif Nathoo, is the East Division Coach of the Year. The Lions had a six-win turnaround in 2008-09 for the best record in OUA. Four of his players were named OUA East Division First Team All-Stars, including Sriskandarajah, senior outside player Candice Paulsen ( Scarborough) and fourth-year setter Nadia Reider (Buenos Aires, Argentina).

In the West Division, Andrea Ruste (Edmonton) of the Western Mustangs is the Libero of the Year. The fourth-year business student led OUA in digs with 349, which was 51 digs better than her closest competitor. Ruste also led OUA with an average of 5.54 digs per set and was named a West Division First Team All-Star. The Western Mustangs finished in a tie with the McMaster Marauders for first place in the West Division with a 15-4 record.

The top rookie in the West Division is Waterloo Warriors left side Laura Klein (Kitchener). She was seventh in the division for total digs with 234, an average of 3.44 per set. Klein also contributed 134 kills, 16 service aces and 12 blocks during the regular season.

Brock Badgers head coach Lucas Hodgson is the West Division Coach of the Year. The Badgers finished in third place in the division with a record of 14-5, a five-win turnaround from a season ago. The 14 victories matched a school record.

Michelle Wood (Toronto) of the Varsity Blues and Shauna Peddle (Stoney Creek) of the Brock Badgers both earn Awards of Merit in their respective divisions. Wood, a fourth-year libero, spent most of last season and a part of the 2008-09 campaign rehabilitating from a torn ACL. She is a member of the Varsity Board – a student-athlete committee at the University of Toronto that reports to the Council of Athletics and Recreation in the Faculty. She also served as league convenor of U of T intramural volleyball, and worked at Camp U of T as a volleyball instructor.

Peddle serves as a peer mentor for first-year students at Brock University. She also works with ESL (English as a second language) students, facilitating conversations that will assist their communication skills and conversational abilities in the English language. Peddle is also part of SNAP (Special Needs Activity Program), teaming up with a different student with a disability in the Niagara region, encouraging their participation in fun activities which helps with their physical and mental development. She is also a member of the West Division First Team All-Stars.

Joining Sriskandarajah, Paulsen and Reider as East Division First Team All-Stars are Tess Edwards (Ottawa) and Ariane Thibault (Rouyn-Noranda, Que.) of the Ottawa Gee-Gees and Heather Bansley (Waterdown) of the Varsity Blues.

Ruste and Peddle are joined by Western’s Sara Farrell (London), McMaster’s Heidi Bench (St. Catharines) and Jennifer Holt (Hamilton), and Kate Flanagan (Burlington) of the Warriors as West Division First Team All-Stars.

The Queen’s Gaels make up half of the East Division Second Team All-Stars, including Lorna Button (Newcastle), Katie Matthews (Aurora) and Colleen Ogilvie (Calgary). York’s Angela Frawley (Sudbury), Kathleen Mahannah (Vancouver) of the Varsity Blues and Leah Saar (Ajax) of the Ryerson Rams make up the remainder of the team.

West Division Second Team All-Stars include McMaster’s Kaila Janssen (Oshawa) and Sarah Kiernan (Hamilton), Brock’s Shannon Anderson (Newmarket), Western’s Sarah Johnston (Stratford), Bojana Josipovic (Kitchener) of the Warriors, and Teresa Wick (Moorefield) of the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks.

Joining Sriskandarajah and Klein on the OUA All-Rookie team are Natalie Gray (Oshawa) of Queen’s, Brooke Lloyd (Whitby) of the Guelph Gryphons, Shannon McRobert (Whitby) of McMaster and Saar.