DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
Diane Scott sees a lot of a former Wesmen when she watches one particular future Wesmen.
The Winnipeg Wesmen women's volleyball coach announced the second commitment of her 2019 recruiting class Friday with the addition of River East Collegiate right side Alexa Wieczorkiewicz to next year's team.
Wieczorkiewicz (vich-or-ki-vich) has not yet declared a major and will have five years of eligibility starting in the fall.
Scott, the Wesmen head coach, said the five-foot-10 lefty reminds her a lot of former Wesmen Lauren Sears, a middle blocker who was one of the program's top weapons and a first-team all-Canadian in 2012.
"She has a natural confidence, she carries herself well, she's mature," Scott said. "… She's just a together kid. She has this air about her that is 'Yeah, I got it.' She so reminds me of Lauren Sears, which is a huge compliment. If Lex can grow into the same sort of person and player Lauren was with the ability to get everyone in the room and be aggressive enough when necessary and know when to be soft. That's a big moniker to put on her shoulders right now but she has those natural leadership abilities. She just has a maturity to her."
Scott is pushing cautious optimism for Wieczorkiewicz, who played her club volleyball for Shock before transferring to the Jr Wesmen this season.
"She has a lot to learn still, but she's keen and she brings a lot to the table," Scott said. "She knows where she's at. She knows she has things to work on and to learn and she's open to that, which is huge."
A two-time member of the Manitoba provincial program, Wieczorkiewicz captained the Shock club at the 15, 16 and 17U level, winning a provincial championship and national bronze in 2016 while also being named a national tournament all-star. She was a provincial all-star at the 16U and 17U levels the following seasons and also helped Shock capture bronze at the 2017 nationals.
Wieczorkiewicz said she "always knew" she wanted to play post-secondary volleyball. She was exposed to the possibilities in her club seasons and for a while contemplated going outside the province before coming to the realization that home was the place for her.
She and Scott made contact in late 2018 and she made her final decision in January.
"When I went to Shock (in 14U), I saw all the girls get recruited and go to university and that was the dream that I wanted," she said.
"As I thought more and more about it, I knew that staying home would be the best option for me. I think Diane can show me a whole new way of playing. So I think there's a lot that Diane can offer me and it's a new team that I think has a lot of potential that will be the right fit for me."
Wieczorkiewicz said she'll reconnect with her personal trainer in the spring and summer before jumping into her first taste of university volleyball in the fall.
"I'm super-excited for it to make the jump and move on to the next part of my life," she said. "I'm excited for the challenge.
"I think because I'm a left-handed right side it's a different look for the team, and I think I'm going to come in and be the best that I can be whether that is right away or developing. I'm excited to have the opportunity to develop a new way of how I play … so I'm excited to grow and make myself better in that way."