Swift Current’s Abby Sauder will suit up for the Lethbridge College Kodiaks women’s volleyball team in the Alberta College Athletic Association next season.
Sauder is a left side who will join the Kodiaks after training extensively with Team Saskatchewan this summer.
“Abby is an exciting pick-up for us,” says Kodiaks head coach Anna Schwark. “She is a very talented volleyball player and at this level it is difficult to come by an athlete with her height that hasn’t been forced into the middle position all her life. I am really looking forward to seeing her in September after training with Team Saskatchewan, since she will be coming in just having had some fantastic coaching and a lot of quality training opportunities.”
Schwark is excited to see the internal competition once training camp starts, knowing that first-year student-athletes like Sauder are going to push hard for playing time.
“I think Abby is going to be able to jump right in and push our returning athletes in the outside hitter position, as she takes her training very seriously and works really hard to always be improving,” says Schwark. “Skill-wise, Abby is great. She has got the timing down on a faster-paced offence and is a very reliable serve receiver and defender. I really think in a few years Abby will be a knockout outside hitter and that she will be able to go head-to-head with the best in the league.”
For Sauder, Lethbridge College offered the perfect blend of competitive athletics and strong academics.
“I’ve heard some really good things about the Kodiaks and I know a couple of people who play for the men’s team,” says Sauder. “And I know they have a really good Nursing program, so I was really excited because I’ve heard from all the nurses [in Swift Current] that the best nurses come from Lethbridge, and so academically I think it was also my best choice.”
Sauder says she’s had some great initial conversations with her new coach and she’s excited for the challenge of playing post-secondary volleyball.
“My conversations [with Anna] have been really good,” says Sauder. “She sounds like a really great coach and I’m super excited to play for her. She told me where she sees me on the team, and it sounds like it’s just going to be a perfect fit for me.”
It’s no secret the pandemic had a severe impact on high school athletes, and Sauder was no exception. With limited training opportunities available in her hometown, she was forced to make a drastic move in her grade 12 year to ensure she could continue to train at a high level.
“We didn’t get to practice very much in Swift Current, and I actually had to go train with the team in Regina,” says Sauder. “So, I had to move for the second semester of my Grade 12 year and take online classes, which was pretty tough, so that was a big challenge. But it was a good opportunity for me and the best one I could get with the circumstances.”
With a new season on the horizon, Sauder says she can’t wait to get settled in Lethbridge and begin a new journey with the Kodiaks.
“I’m really looking forward to getting to know the girls and just being able to play a high-level game with a bunch of new people, developing my skills more and having a good time.”
Submitted story by Lethbridge College Kodiaks Athletics