Bella Gierys wasn't so sure post-secondary volleyball was for her. It only took meeting Winnipeg Wesmen players and their coach to convince her otherwise.
Gierys, a product of the Lord Selkirk Royals high school volleyball team, has committed to head coach Diane Scott and the Wesmen women's volleyball program for 2018-19.
Gierys marks the third commitment to Scott's 2018 recruiting class, joining setter Mikayla Cameron and Gierys' Royals teammate Kely Warmington in signing on to U of W.
In Gierys, Scott believes she has a "raw" talent with the versatility to move around the floor. Gierys played largely as a middle blocker in high school and club, but Scott can see her transitioning to an outside attacking position.
"She's a good athlete, a dynamic athlete," Scott said. "She is young but I really feel she has an upside and she can play multiple positions. … She's athletic and all three kids coming into the fold this year are athletic, and they add to an already athletic team."
Gierys was named the Royals' 2016 team MVP and helped Selkirk reach back-to-back MHSAA final fours in her two years playing varsity. In 2015, her Selkirk team made the JV championship final and, months later, represented Manitoba as part of the U16 provincial program.
The 5-foot-10 St. Andrews product started in the Selkirk Royals club system before donning the Junior Wesmen colours for the first time in 2017, playing up an age class with Scott's U18 team.
Now she'll prepare for the jump to the post-secondary level, a challenge she said she wasn't always certain she would take on.
"This year I was really debating whether I wanted to play university," Gierys said. "But then I decided, yeah, if I don't do this I'm really going to regret it. And now I'm really looking forward to it."
Gierys said the Wesmen are a perfect fit, both with Warmington joining her on the university team as well as past Junior Wesmen teammates like Emma Parker and Taylor Kleysen, who will go into their second years at U of W.
"All the girls are super-welcoming and it will make first year definitely easier," she said. "… (Having teammates) makes me a lot more confident for sure because I know I have someone that I can go through it with and it's going to make it a lot more easier transition.
"I'm extremely excited to play here this year. I think it was a really great decision."
Gierys is also accomplished in downhill skiing — a nationally-certified ski coach who represented Manitoba at the 2015 Canada Games in Prince George, B.C. Gierys has also been a provincial champion in water skiing.