Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Cordonier turns attention to indoor volleyball game

Trying out for Team Canada after two summers of beach

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AFTER living out of a suitcase on the beach for the past two summers, Liz Cordonier has come back indoors.

No, the 6-foot-1 left-side hitter from Vancouver didn't run away from home, she joined Canada's national beach volleyball program and travelled the world with partner Jamie Broder on the FIVB World Beach Volleyball Tour.

A member of Canada's national women's volleyball indoor program in 2007 and 2008, Cordonier is among 52 of Canada's top senior female players participating in this week's selection camp for the Winnipeg-based national team.

"I just missed the indoor game and the whole team aspect of being with all the girls," said Cordonier, 24, who was the 2010 BLG Award winner as the top female athlete in Canadian Interuniversity Sport. Cordonier won three straight CIS volleyball titles with the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds and was the 2010 CIS MVP.

It was 2009 when Cordonier first succumbed to the lure of sun and sand and playing beach volleyball with Broder, a longtime friend. After completing her CIS career last year, Cordonier headed back to the beach.

"I had always liked beach and played it in my spare time so I thought it would be fun to see what it was all about and it was a good time to try it, being at the beginning of the (Olympic) quadrennial," Cordonier said. "Jamie and I are best friends, we played together in university and playing on the tour with her was like a labour of love, we just had the best time together. It was really hard to tell her that I wanted to go back to indoor because we had some good results."

They travelled to Korea (twice), Thailand, China, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Mexico and California.

"It was a lot of travel, a lot of packing and unpacking. When people used to ask me where I lived then, I didn't know what to tell them. It was very cool, an amazing opportunity," Cordonier said. "I absolutely loved it. It was really, really fun, but in my heart I knew I had to come back to indoor."

When the 2010 beach season concluded, Cordonier made her way back to the indoor game. Broder has since joined forces on the beach circuit with former University of Manitoba Bisons player Ashley Voth, a former national indoor team member who left indoor to play beach.

"I heard about a (professional) contract in Germany and I took it. After that, I knew I was coming back (to Team Canada)," Cordonier said, noting she hadn't played indoor for a year before she played this past winter for SWE Volleyteam in Erfurt, Germany.

"In the end, it wasn't really about which team I wanted to jump ship onto to try to get to the Olympics," Cordonier said. "It was just the direction I wanted to go with my volleyball career. Indoor or beach, the path to trying to qualify for the Olympics is tough and a struggle either way. I just wanted to struggle it out on the indoor court. The best part is seeing the girls. It's so nice being around all these girls again."

Cordonier's older sister, Emily, retired from Team Canada in 2009. Their father, John, was a member of Canada's rowing team in the 1976 Olympics.

National women's volleyball head coach Arnd Ludwig will announce the Team Canada roster on Friday. The team will represent Canada during the upcoming international season including the road to qualification for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. A Canadian women's team hasn't qualified for the Olympics since 1996.

Manitobans trying out for the team include Tammy Mahon, Amy Toews, Kristi Hunter, Tricia Mayba and Lisa Barclay. University of Winnipeg Wesmen player Lauren Sears is the first Wesmen athlete to be invited try out for the senior team since Nicola Dirks in 2007.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 18, 2011 C6

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