Redeemer Royals

Straatsma sets standard in OCAA women’s volleyball

The Ontario Colleges Athletic Association has a new all-time women’s volleyball career points leader. Redeemer’s Curtiss Straatsma has etched her name in the OCAA record books as the most prolific scorer in women’s volleyball history. Straatsma earned herself the record Saturday afternoon (Jan. 9), notching her 1,240th career point.

(Soruce: Redeemer University College Athletics)

(Soruce: Redeemer University College Athletics)

Straatsma needed just 12 points in her first match of the second semester to move herself to the top of the leader board. St. Clair College defeated Redeemer, 3-2, during the Saturday matinee as Curtiss finished with a game-high 22 points.

For someone who has been breaking records her entire Redeemer volleyball career, this one will be considered to be the biggest milestone as a Royal. Holder of the all-time Redeemer career points and kills records, Straatsma is now onto the OCAA record book.

Humbled by the accomplishment, Curtiss commented, “It is pretty exhilarating, but also humbling because I know that none of this would be possible without the tons of people who have supported me. Volleyball is a team sport and without the other 13 girls on my team playing their hearts out, I could not have done it.

“As well, the coaches and athletic staff have done so much for me, and of course my family. I feel pretty honoured to be doing this with the Redeemer community behind me, showing that even though we are a small school, we can achieve big things.”

To put the milestone into perspective, Straatsma has a full semester yet to add to her totals and has already passed Humber College’s Landis Doyle (1,120) and Kelly Nyhof (1,186) who previously sat No. 2 and No. 3 on the list. Both Doyle and Nyhof were Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association All-Canadians and OCAA Athletes of the Year during their playing careers.

Straatsma was chasing Cambrian College’s Shawna Metcalf. Metcalf was the last volleyball great that Curtiss needed to hurdle in order to stand alone at the top. Cambrian’s Metcalf was a three-time CCAA All-Canadian.

The women’s volleyball team returns home for their Jan. 22 match and there will be a presentation for her at that time to honour her accomplishment. Fittingly, the opponent that evening will be Metcalf’s former team as Redeemer will welcome the Cambrian Golden Shield to Ancaster.

Redeemer’s women’s volleyball head coach, Brad Douwes, has been with Curtiss the past two years and praised Straatsma and what she has brought to the program.

“What Curtiss brings to our team is more than just the ability to score the ball. In the past two years, Curtiss has developed her leadership skills in a way that people may not have thought possible. Curtiss went from being the most gifted player in the gym to being the hardest working player in the gym. She has drastically improved her passing and defensive skills, which have made a huge difference for our team. She now leads by example and is determined to keep working hard to improve and this is something she encourages from her teammates.”

The record was something Redeemer’s star had her sights on from the very beginning. “I thought about it when I entered Redeemer in my first year,” said Straatsma. “After my first year playing at Redeemer I wrote a list of goals for volleyball and this was one of them. It is amazing to see it happen. This record is a top personal achievement for me in my volleyball career. It’s great to leave some sort of mark on the sport you love, especially amongst all the athletes I have had the honour of playing and competing with.”

Redeemer men’s volleyball player alumni Ryan Talsma is the only other Royal to hold an OCAA career points record. His 907 points when he graduated in 2010 launched him to the top of the leader board. Since then, Talsma has been knocked out of the top five, but Redeemer alumni Eric Heidbuurt currently sits fourth all-time with 980 career points.

Douwes has seen both records fall as a player with Talsma and now a coach with Straatsma. “This record is the second all-time scoring record broken by a Royals volleyball athlete in the last six years,” said Douwes. “It shows the strength of our program and that Redeemer has been a great place for very talented high school athletes to develop their athletic ability and flourish athletically at the next level.”

When asked about what it has meant to coach Curtiss the past two years and what she has meant to the program, Douwes answered, “Becoming the all time scoring leader is a significant accomplishment, one that only a select group of players are ever able to even think about accomplishing. Curtiss is one of those players. She has set high standards for herself and has lived up to those standards, being a premier scorer in the OCAA for the past five years. I am extremely proud of Curt. She has been a blessing to coach and work with. She has a desire to achieve great things and a work ethic that matches this desire. If any player deserves it, it’s Curtiss Straatsma.”

Now that Curtiss has propelled herself to the top of the all-time OCAA career point record, she will set her sights on the all-time OCAA career kills record. The record is currently also held by Metcalf with 960. Straatsma sat 54 kills away entering Saturday’s match and will need to average six kills per match down the stretch over her last nine games in order to break it. Curtiss is averaging 2.6 kills per set.

What’s next for the Royals? “This record is something that will be celebrated, but it is not the biggest thing Curtiss wants to accomplish this season,” commented Douwes. “The goal remains an OCAA championship and the focus remains on that. A win on Tuesday against Conestoga College will get us one step closer.”

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(Photo: Kyle White/Mohawk College Athletics)

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