Volume 94, Issue 36

Thursday, November 2, 2000


Rowers foot their own bill for nationals in Victoria

Volleyball skill sealed with a Kiss

Volleyball skill sealed with a Kiss

Jessica Leeder/Gazette
I NEVER NOTICED HOW HIDEOUS THIS CEILING IS. Talented on the court and always in class at Ivey, Katherine Kiss is set up for success.

By Jessica Leeder
Gazette Staff

Katherine Kiss is in her second year as a middle blocker with the Western women's volleyball team, but it is not very likely that everyone here at Western knows just how lucky we are to be able to call her a fellow Mustang.

Kiss started her career in varsity sports five years ago, faced with the dilemma of whether to play basketball or volleyball while she entertained her academic interests.

"At first I was a disaster – on the court I was all over the place. I think I was the laughingstock of the entire team that year and I sat on the bench the whole time." Kiss laughed off her rookie season at the University of Victoria, describing herself as being a sort of oddball on the court.

"Varsity sports in general is a bigger deal out West," Kiss said. "There are only three universities that compete in the province – we would fly to most of our out-of-province games."

In her third year at UVic funding for her sport got axed, which both devastated Kiss as an athlete and made her second-guess her choice to stay in Canada.

"We all took it really hard," Kiss said, of her year without varsity volleyball. "I considered playing basketball again, but I just didn't want to do it." Kiss stayed at UVic to pursue her degree in business, making a commitment to herself to put academics before athletics, but she was able to find the best of both worlds elsewhere.

The University of Alberta would seem to have been the most probable location for Kiss to play volleyball. After all, it was close to home, convenient and carries a strong tradition of being the Canadian powerhouse of volleyball. But she chose Western.

"In Ontario there are 16 possible university teams to play at, so if it is your lifelong dream to play a varsity sport, as opposed to in B.C., you can play here. York and Queen's were my other considerations," Kiss said. "But Western has the best business school in the country. I could justify leaving B.C. for a better school, but not a worse one. Business is all about prestige – it's all about the name on your degree."

Kiss came to Western with a guaranteed spot on the team without ever being seen in person by head coach Dean Lowrie. "I was a little nervous not having played for a year, but the team was really great and I felt like I fit in right away," Kiss said. "I had as much experience as everyone else on the team."

Kiss is presently in her first year at the Richard Ivey school of business and struggling to balance the increased workload with her love of sport.

"It's been challenging trying to get into the rhythm – it doesn't matter that I've had a bad practice or I'm sore – I still have to go to class at eight in the morning."

This season's squad has a slightly different look than last year's. The departure of co-captain and on-court leader Marnie Simpson has left an open spot for a co-captain at present. Kiss doesn't see herself as captain material – she's more of an enforcer responsible for volume: "I'm in charge of yelling," she said.

As for this year's team and the chance of Kiss' vocals leading them to a national championship, Kiss says it's a definite possibility.

"This year is interesting because the teams out West are not what they used to be. There just isn't that dominance. If things go right this could be our season – we're going to be very competitive."

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Copyright The Gazette 2000