DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
Selva Planincic needed some time away to figure things out, and now she's going to pursue her passion at the University of Winnipeg.
Planincic, a 5-foot-10 Sturgeon Heights Collegiate left side who was ranked the No. 1 player in high school volleyball this past season, has committed to Diane Scott's Wesmen women's volleyball team for the 2019-20 season.
Planincic signed her national letter of intent this week and will have five years of eligibility at UWinnipeg.
In one of the deepest recruiting classes in recent memory, Planincic rose to the top, regarded as an A-level athlete with a 10-foot touch and an ability to dominate matches above and through blocks.
"She is dynamic, she's athletic and she has a natural gift for the game," Scott said. "One of the things that I really like about her is she has a bit of an edge. She's intense and she's smart enough to know she's good.
"She hits the ball high and has great extension. She's technically pure, natural drifting and she moves like an athlete."
University volleyball, however, wasn't a sure thing for the Quebec native who came to Manitoba a few years ago. After one particular season of club volleyball left her mentally and emotionally drained, Planincic made the bold decision to walk away from the game to see if it was still in her heart. She didn't play on any teams in 2017-18 and turned her focus to other sports to find her joy.
"I just didn't really enjoy playing anymore like I used to," she said. "So I said I'm just going to take a break and see how I feel about volleyball and school and try different sports. I played rugby, flag football, touch football. I tried other things and then I really missed volleyball. So when I came back this year we had a really successful school season which really gave me back the passion I used to have."
Planincic helped the Huskies advance to the quarter-final of the AAAA provincial tournament last fall and is now playing with the Jr. Wesmen U18 club team.
"Highly physical, skilled athlete, very gifted," Sturgeon Heights coach Peter Roadley said. "She's probably the most dominant high school athlete that has played in the last two or three years, for sure, with her jumping ability, blocking ability and just hits the ball hard. She's a dynamic player that should serve the Wesmen well."
The athleticism that she possesses runs through her family. Her brother Selvedin played two seasons of NCAA Division I basketball at Canisius College in Buffalo.
Scott compared her abilities to former Wesmen Ozana Nikolic, who was a multiple conference all-star and former national rookie of the year while at Winnipeg.
"I'm very excited about the privilege to work with an athlete like this," Scott said. "She's a unique athlete."