DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
Nya Krauchi knew before she hit middle school she wanted to play university volleyball. And she knew what colours she wanted to wear, too.
Krauchi, a Grade 12 libero out of Sturgeon Heights Collegiate, has become the latest official commitment to the 2020 recruiting class for the Winnipeg Wesmen women's volleyball program.
She will enroll in Education and have five years of eligibility.
Krauchi said her dreams of playing post-secondary volleyball started in Grade 6 and by the time she'd reached high school she says she knew where she wanted to play.
"I got recruited out of province but I really wanted to stay in Winnipeg and play for the University of Winnipeg," she said. "Since high school, I've always wanted to play for Winnipeg."
Krauchi has had a connection with Wesmen head coach Phil Hudson for a number of years, attending Hudson's libero camps dating back to when she was in the 14U age group.
"I always thought he was one of the best and I wanted to play for him," she said, "and when he started coaching U of W I was like, 'Yeah, I wanna play here.'
"I had offers at other places, but I just knew I wanted to be here."
Krauchi, who has played club for Vision, Dynamo and, most recently, WinMan, was ranked the No. 9 high school player — and top libero — in the province in the Winnipeg Sun's annual coaches poll in November 2019.
She was a AAAA graduating all-star, helped her team advance to the provincial quarter-finals and was named to both the 2018 and 2019 provincial junior teams coached by Wesmen assistant Josh Thordarson.
She is the second Sturgeon Heights recruit of the past two seasons, joining former teammate Selva Planincic on next year's roster.
Hudson said in Krauchi's workouts with the current Wesmen team she "demonstrated an ability to defend against university attackers right away."
"Nya's played libero her entire career — high school and club teams and provincial teams — so she's got the mindset of what it takes to play at a high level as a libero," Hudson said. "She passes really well, she's got good reading, she's been coached really well, and she's got a very good volleyball IQ."
Krauchi joins a recruiting class that includes Transcona middle blocker Christine Kolbuck, Leo Remillard setter Breanne Bazin, Dakota middle blocker and left side Taylor McGillivray and Jaya Dzikowicz, and Surrey, B.C., left side Alysha Goundrey.