SMASH: Dinos Info

Dinos CIS Champs
Calgary defeats Alberta to win women's CIS gold
SASKATOON (CP) - The University of Calgary Dinos defeated the Alberta Pandas 25-18, 25-17, 19-25, 25-22 on Saturday to win the gold medal at the 2004 CIS women's volleyball championship.

Amanda Moppett had 15 kills for Calgary, and Joanna Niemczewska added 13.

Chelsea Grimson had a game-high 20 kills for Alberta.

In the bronze-medal game earlier Saturday, third-seeded Universite Laval defeated No. 4 University of British Columbia 25-19, 25-23, 25-19.

Caroline Fiset had a game-high 13 kills for the Rouge et Or, while former CIS Rookie of the Year Dominique Duchaine had 12. Amelie Rivet had 39 assists and was named player of the game.

Emily Cordonier and Shelley Chalmers had 11 and 10 kills respectively for the Thunderbirds.

No. 2 University of Calgary and top-seeded University of Alberta met later Saturday in the championship game.

Earlier Saturday, No. 5 University of Toronto defeated Universite de Montreal 25-15, 22-25, 18-25, 25-21, 15-13 in the consolation final.

CIS rookie of the year Anastasia Danilova lead all players with 20 kills. Laura Powers contributed 17 kills for the Varsity Blues.

Melody Benhamou led the Carabins 15 kills, while rookie Genevieve Dumais led all players with 22 digs.

Dino leads volleyball sweep of prized university laurels
Niemczewska, Ens selected as tops in nation

Lauren MacGillivray
Calgary Herald

May 4, 2004

Saskatchewan's Adam Ens and Calgary's Joanna Niemczewska trade smiles after receiving their BLG Awards.
CREDIT: Ted Jacob, Calgary Herald

Joanna Niemczewska, always a person who deflects attention to her teammates, was singled out on Monday during the 12th annual Borden Ladner Gervais Awards.

The University of Calgary volleyball player accepted a BLG, alongside fellow volleyballer Adam Ens of the University of Saskatchewan, while all dressed up and virtually floating on air at the Jack Singer Concert Hall.

The awards, which also will air in a one-hour special May 20 at noon on TSN, recognize Canada's top female and male university athletes. They are based on athletic accomplishments, outstanding sportsmanship, leadership ability and academic excellence.

"I'm a U of C Dino, it's not just me," said Niemczewska, a five-foot-10 right side hitter who led the Dinos to their first Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) title since 1994. "I'm lucky, it just keeps rolling. It started with one award and they just keep coming. But where would I be if I didn't have the support of my teammates."

Ens, a fifth-year left side hitter with the Huskies, also led his squad to a CIS title this year and won tournament MVP.

"You look at the quality of these athletes . . . I hear some of them trying out for the Athens Olympics and it really shows the depth of the athletes here," said the six-foot-two, 210-pounder. "This is really exciting. It's a great chance to represent my school and my team."

Six others were nominated for the award: Alison Goodman, Wilfrid Laurier hockey/soccer; Michael Smart, Carleton basketball; Martine Dugrenier, Concordia wrestling; Ryan Tomicic, McGill swimming and Dalhousie athletes Adrienne Power, track and field and Chris Stanley, hockey.

"We are very proud of these young men and women," said Doug Mitchell, national co-chairman at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, founder of the BLG Awards and chairman of the Canadian Athletic Foundation board of trustees. "There's a high correlation between academic and athletic achievement and success in life.

"Both Joanna and Adam are great ambassadors of the BLG Awards and (we're) very proud to be associated with all of this year's nominees and award winners who are destined to be future leaders in our country."

The event was hosted by broadcasters Lisa Hillary and Glen Suitor and the Canadian rock/country band Doc Walker performed.

Niemczewska, a 20-year-old who's only in her third year, was this year's youngest nominee. She's still in disbelief over how well her season went, which included awards for Canada West and CIS player of the year and U of C female athlete of the year.

She also was named a first team Canada West all-star and first team CIS all-Canadian. Her teammates attended the function.

"It got me a little emotional to see them here. I'm getting choked up just talking about it."

Niemczewska was born in Warsaw, Poland, and moved to Calgary as a toddler. Since being nominated for a BLG, her proud family has made telephone calls to Warsaw, where the word has spread quickly.

The graduate of St. Mary's High School joined the Dinos in the fall of 2001 and was one of the top Canada West rookies until illness sidelined her. She gained a starting spot last year but it was this season that everyone took notice of her talent.

She gained confidence and made a difference on the floor every night, finding her consistency. During the regular season, she was second in the country in total kills with 283.

She wants to play volleyball at the highest level she can, while continuing study in physical geography and remote sensing, analyzing satellite and digital imagery.

Niemczewska's award marks the fifth time the U of C has captured a BLG since the event began in 1992. The last time was in 2001 when Leighann Doan won for basketball.

Ens, meanwhile, is the first BLG recipient from the U of Saskatchewan. The 23-year-old native of Rosthern, Sask., registered the final point on a block as the Huskies edged the Alberta Golden Bears in five sets to claim the fourth national championship in school history.

He led the Canada West conference in points, kills and service aces and was chosen on the first all-Canadian team and a CIS championship all-star. He's also a four-time academic all-Canadian and CIS player of the year.

Ens is completing his education degree and is also a member of Bunch a Guys -- a singing group that travels Saskatchewan raising money for charity.

Volleyball runs in his family. His older brother, 24-year-old Jesse, also played for the Huskies. His younger brother, 20-year-old Joel, played alongside him this year.

This year's awards was only the second time that both the female and male BLG award have gone to volleyball players -- the last time was in 1992-93, the first year of the awards, when Andy Cameron of the U of C and Diane Scott of the University of Winnipeg won.

Niemczewska and Ens each received a $5,000 scholarship to attend a Canadian university graduate school, a fossil stone trophy and a commemorative gold ring.

The Canadian Athletic Foundation selects the winners.