Dauphin, Canada

Blaire DeLaMare is in her second season of college volleyball with the ACC Cougars, based out of Brandon. Last season finished off with a bang for the now 19-year-old. She was named the team's most improved player.

Now as the Cougars are on their Christmas break, they can reflect on what was somewhat of a tough first semester. They went 2-6 and are in fourth place in the MCAC standings.

"It definitely hasn't gone how we expected it to," said DeLaMare. "We lost our captain so that was a little bit of a tough blow. We're staying positive and we'll come out hard after Christmas."

One thing Blaire continues to stress in her game is her blocking. There's nothing like getting a huge block that can really turn the tides of a set. Heading into the second semester, that's what the Dauphinite hopes to bring to the table more often.

"We had a couple new coaches come in and help us out with that," said DeLaMare. "We just have to be more defensively sound and we'll have that success. We'll keep working on it."

"I think it's been a pretty good season overall for me," she added. "Last year, I played right side the whole season and I've changed to the left side this season. It's been a little bit of an adjustment. I'm enjoying the change though, and I think it's going pretty well."

Despite having a 2-6 record, DeLaMare and the Cougars did get hot late. They lost their first six games of the season, but they entered the Christmas break on a two-game winning streak. 

"Our goal going into that final weekend was to finish off on a high note and that's what we did," said DeLaMare. "We're super excited for the second semester for sure."

"I think we just played with more confidence in those last games," she added. "We also have a new assistant coach who knows a ton about the game, so that's helping us as well."

Blaire and the Cougars will now have more than a month off. Their next game is on January 11 against l'Université de Saint-Boniface. It will be a tough start as USB is 6-2 and are tied atop the standings.

"Right now, we're sitting in fourth place and that would put us up against the top team in the playoffs and we don't want that," said DeLaMare. "It's really important for us to get some wins and move up in the standings to third or even second."

The team will enter the post-Christmas break three games behind the Red River Rebels for third.