University of Regina middle blocker Beth Clark begins her final season with the Cougars this weekend, as the volleyball team hosts Manitoba on Friday and Saturday in its season openers at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health & Sport.
Clark has been the team's starting middle since she arrived on campus back in 2005 shortly after graduating from Sheldon-Williams Collegiate. Though she still has a full season remaining with the Cougars, she is already the school's rally-point era leader in career blocks (263) and service aces (76) and needs 227 kills this season to surpass former teammate Tammy Julé on the U of R's all-time list.
I expect her to be dominant this season," Cougars head coach Melanie Sanford said. "She's experienced and brings leadership to our team in many different situations."
Clark, the co-captain of the Cougars, has seen her kill totals rise each season since her first year, when she was named to the 2006 CIS All-Rookie Team. She was named a Canada West second-team all-star following the 2007-08 season, when she recorded career highs in both hitting percentage and blocks per set.
Clark is one of two fifth-year players on the Cougars, along with fellow co-captain Meagan Smith. Clark is a business administration student, while Smith is majoring in secondary education.
The Cougars, who were ranked No. 7 in the first CIS poll of the season, will be tested this weekend against Manitoba. The Bisons come into the weekend ranked No. 3 in the CIS and have finished first in the conference standings in two of the past three seasons. Match times are scheduled for 6 p.m. on Friday night and 8 p.m. on Saturday night. As always, U of R students get in free of charge.
The men's volleyball team will also play its home openers this weekend. The Cougars host No. 5-ranked Manitoba following the women's match on Friday night and at 6 p.m. on Saturday night.
The invasion of University of Manitoba teams this weekend continues on the pitch, where the women's soccer team hosts the Bisons on Saturday and Sunday at the U of R Field. Match time is scheduled for noon on both days.
On the road, the University of Regina Rams can clinch a playoff spot this weekend but need to defeat Calgary Dinos, who enter the game tied for the conference lead with a 5-1 record. Kickoff is scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m., with all the action available live with Michael Ball and Chad Ehman online at 620CKRM.com.