DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
Selva Planincic has waited a long time —longer than most — to make her mark, and Friday night as volleyball returned to Winnipeg, she picked the most important moments to do so.
Planincic, a Class of 2019 recruit who had her freshman season derailed by injuries and fought through another earlier this month, had her first career double-double with 12 kills and 10 digs to help the UWinnipeg Wesmen to a 3-0 (25-23, 25-21, 25-14) season-opening win over the Regina Cougars at the Duckworth Centre.
Planincic, who was the No. 1-ranked player in Manitoba out of high school, earned her first career start and provided a formidable attacking option to complement veteran left sides Emma Parker and Ashleigh Laube, who finished with 12 and 10 kills, respectively.
"She played great," Wesmen head coach Phil Hudson said. "She's a very physical athlete, jumps really well, has a great, fast, compact arm swing and she put the ball away at crucial times for us on right side and it was great to see. She's been waiting for a couple years to get a chance to play and now she's getting in. She's put a lot of time in so I'm happy for her to get a chance to do that."
Portia Switzer, a Class of 2020 transfer from Vancouver Island University, made her Wesmen debut at setter and had 37 assists and tied Planincic with a team-high 10 digs.
The Wesmen were effective at the pins with Laube making just three attack errors and hitting .350 for the night. All told, the three outside hitters hit .250 for the match.
"(The team was) super nervous at the start, but we had a couple of older players play really well at the start of the first set," Hudson said. "Ashleigh and Emma both played great and sorta held us in there when it was side-out, side-out, side-out. Then the other kids got a little more confidence and a little bit more calmer as the game went on."
Freshman middle blocker Christine Kolbuck got her first real match experience late and had two kills on two swings while notching her first career ace.
The Wesmen held Regina to .069 attacking, including .000 in Sets 2 and 3.
Jessica Lerminiaux led the way with 10 kills for the visitors.
The two teams meet again Saturday at 6:45 p.m.