Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 01/11/2009 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
Maurice Williams once picked basketball over volleyball but it's volleyball that's giving the 23-year-old University of Winnipeg Wesmen athlete a second chance.Williams, who had started his university sport career with the Wesmen men's basketball team in 2004-2005, is back in the black-and-red four years later with the Wesmen men's volleyball team. On Saturday night, Williams was a key player in the middle during all four sets for the No. 6-ranked Wesmen (7-3) who beat the No. 8-ranked Brandon Bobcats (6-4) by scores of 20-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-23 in the U of W Duckworth Centre. The Wesmen are tied for third in the Canada West conference followed by Brandon in fourth.
"It's been just the best experience so far. I was pretty much starting at ground zero with a team that went to the national final the last two years and won it all two years ago so there's a very high volleyball IQ on this team," said Williams, a 6-foot-2 middle player who was formerly a guard in basketball. In his Grade 12 year out of St. Norbert Collegiate, both Wesmen men's basketball coach Dave Crook and Wesmen men's volleyball coach Larry McKay were recruiting him. "You don't want to stick out or let anyone down because this is a program that it's national championship or bust. You might only get one shot to be a part of something like that."
In the women's match, the No. 4-ranked Bobcats faced a battle against the unranked Wesmen -
Williams said basketball wasn't working out for him and his marks were sliding so he took a step back from athletics to focus on school for the past few seasons to make sure his marks are good enough to get him into education so he can be a teacher.
Williams played volleyball for the club for the club team Strike under McKay along with Wesmen volleyball starters Alan Ahow, Paul Kjos, Andrew Town and Dan Lother.
"I think Larry always had a bit of soft sport for me. I was hoping that even if I was terrible, he'd keep me around for a while just so I could be around him and the guys!" Williams said, laughing. "It started off very, very shaky. I hadn't played volleyball in five years so I was this big experiment! But Larry's worked with me, I really look up to him as a coach, and the guys have supported me so I've been able to contribute as much as I can and play a positive role."
The Wesmen were led by Andrew Town's 19 kills and 10 digs with nine kills from Justin Duff. Brandon's Paul Sanderson had 17 kills with 14 from Kevin Miller.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 11, 2009 C4
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