To have success on the volleyball court as a team, a solid setter is a must. Dauphin's Renee Desroches did that during her time with the Dauphin Clippers and now she's doing the same thing in Winnipeg.
Playing in her second season with the CMU Blazers, it was another very successful season for the Dauphinite and the rest of the team.
Although they didn't win the league, they advanced to the final once again before losing in five sets in what turned out be the match of the year.
"We had a lot of returning players this year so we were able to build off the chemistry from last year and take it into this year," said Desroches. "Although we didn't win the league, we played with confidence and we were super competitive all season."
Last year in her first season with the team, Renee was named to the Conference All-Star team. This year, the 19-year-old just kept it coming with the individual accolades. She was once again named to the MCAC All-Conference team.
"We had an assistant coach this year that was a past setter which was really nice for me because she was able to provide me with some better technique and footwork which made my game improve," she added. "We have some really strong hitters who know how to get it done, so that makes my job easy and I can run a quicker offence."
"I've had a great experience playing in the MCAC, and it's really nice to see my contribution to the team being recognized by the league," she added. "I really enjoy playing volleyball and it means a lot to me."
Renee's next individual accolade was a big one. Including women's volleyball, the Blazers have eight different sports programs. Every month, the school picks two athletes of the month. In January, Renee was chosen as one of them. The award is called the LionHeart Athlete of the Month and it was a first-time honour for Desroches.
"It was a really special honour and it was quite unexpected for sure," added Desroches. "Being recognized for my contribution to the success we had in that month felt really good."
Another great part of the season for Renee and the rest of the team came just before they began their second half of the season. Playing in the Adidas Cup in Oshawa, the team placed third which was their highest ever finish at the event that featured some of the best college teams from around Canada.
A highlight from the event came against Seneca when they were down 2-0 in the best of five. The ladies bounced back to win three straight sets to win the match in five. The team advanced to the semifinals after beating the Algonquin Thunder, also in five sets. After dropping their semifinal, the Blazers rolled on in the bronze medal. They beat Loyalist in four sets.
"Yeah, that was a lot of fun and the Adidas Cup is always a really great tournament for our team," said Desroches. "We were all really excited about the third place finish. We had to play against some really strong teams and we were extremely happy with the outcome."
Renee will be back front and centre as the team's floor captain next season as the Blazers look to win the MCAC.