Blast from the past: Veteran returns to MRU women's volleyball team after nearly 15-year absence
CALGARY -- After departing Mount Royal College in 2005 to play for Canada's national volleyball team, Tasha Holness has returned to what is now known as Mount Royal University to play for the Cougars.
The 39-year-old is donning the blue and white jersey of years gone by after wearing the maple leaf for eight years and also playing professionally. She says there were external forces at work who guided her decision to play for MRU.
"My coach and my friends, so peer pressure I guess," laughed Holness.
The coach she’s talking about is Sandra Lamb who was with the team back in 2005 and still leads the team today. Lamb says it didn’t take too much arm twisting to get Holness to come back.
"She’s young at heart and she still has the drive. She said she’s not in the real world yet so it didn’t take a whole lot of convincing."
Even though Holness has a lot of experience, she doesn't consider herself to be the leader of the team.
"I’m just trying to enjoy the moment and have fun and just be there for the players if they need me. But not to insert myself as a leader."
But make no mistake, Holness has made a big difference. The Cougars are currently tied for first place with Trinity Western.
Quinn Pelland, a setter on the team, says they all lean on Tasha’s experience.
"She’s incredible, she knows so much," said Pelland. "Just having that on the court in a game is just so calming. She’s a teammate but she also brings what a coach would bring."
Lamb agrees with Pelland's take and says Holness has brought a positive attitude and a lot of energy and it’s helping.
"She’s obviously played at a high level so she has a high volleyball IQ. All the younger players are just feeding off that."
When you are by far the oldest member of the team you’re bound to get a little heat. Lamb says her teammates enjoy ribbing her with age-based nicknames. "You know, Grandma, a little bit of that."
Pelland says it’s all in good fun.
"You can’t tell that she’s older than us really. When we’re together it’s so fun."
And you won’t get any arguments from Holness. "Ask any of the girls and I probably would be the one to act the youngest on the team. So my age is really just a number."
Holness and the Cougars are hoping for more success this weekend as they take on Trinity Western in a first place showdown.