Just over a month after the season ended, the Nipissing Lakers women’s volleyball team is already in the process of re-tooling their lineup and so far, so good.
The Lakers have made their first signing of the off-season, as they welcome Kylie Fast, a 5-foot-10 setter to the program for the 2016-17 OUA/CIS season.
Fast will join the Lakers from the Niagara Rapids, her club team this past season, which capped off seven years of playing club level volleyball, as well as four years playing at the high school level.
The Pelham, Ontario native is thrilled to be joining the Lakers, explaining that both the program and the school are perfect for her.
“It has always been my dream to play varsity volleyball and honestly I’m thrilled to be signing with the Lakers program. It feels like the perfect fit for me,” she said. “Nipissing was my top choice when applying to universities. The Concurrent Education program and smaller-sized university is exactly where I believe I can succeed.”
Along with graduating from the Rapids, Fast will move on from E. L. Crossley Secondary School, earning Honours throughout her four years there.
Lakers head coach Marc LaRochelle is excited about Fast joining the program and looks forward to watching her development with Nipissing.
“The coaching staff is very pleased that Kylie has chosen to join the Laker family. Kylie’s set location and tempo is very consistent which is extremely important. She moves well to the ball and can push a ball pin to pin with ease,” LaRochelle said.
While there will be an adjustment period, making the jump from both club and high school volleyball to the OUA/CIS level, Fast believes she can help the team continue their improvement and be part of the program’s climb up the standings.
“I can see that the team is getting stronger every year in OUA and I want to see the team continue to grow, bringing our best games and getting into the playoffs,” she said, adding she has individual goals in mind as well. “Personally, I’m looking forward to varsity-level coaching and training to become the best setter that I can be, while gaining a great education.”
Marc Ferretti, Rapids head coach said the Lakers are getting a player who has made strides in a lot of areas of the game.
“Kylie has worked hard on every component of the physical, tactical, and mental aspects of her game in order to be a more complete player,” he said. “She has learned to diversify an attack and value not only the offensive elements a setter must provide, but also the defensive responsibilities her setter position demands.”
Fast said she has learned a great deal with the Rapids, as well as in high school and she feels she has a strong volleyball IQ, something that will allow her to transition to the post-secondary level.
“I believe I’m the kind of player that brings good game-sense with the ability to mix it up by providing sets at various tempos and speeds,” she explained. “I’m a steady player with good strength behind my sets and serving and can easily build friendships and team.”
LaRochelle said he likes what Fast can bring and being able to run an accurate, efficient offence will go a long way in improving the team.
“Kylie also brings a physical presence to the setter position which is very important in the OUA,” LaRochelle noted. “There is always a learning curve when making the jump from club, however, Kylie has a great attitude, is open to learning and has a strong work ethic which will go far in her development.”
Fast is an accomplished athlete, picking up awards and medals throughout her career;
OVA Provincials Gold Medalist (2013, Division 2, Tier 1)
OVA Beach Provincials Silver Medalist (2013, Tier 2 Premier)
Volleyball Canada Nationals Gold Medalist (2012, Division 2, Tier 1)
OVA Provincials Bronze Medalist (2012, Division 1, Tier 2)
OVA Provincials Silver Medalist (2011, Tier 1)
Numerous OVA tournament medals – Championship & Premier level (indoor & beach)
Played up with U18 team last year – Team’s Provincial Rank - 11
Awarded Team MVP at 2016 Niagara High School Showcase @ Niagara College
Co-Captain for 4 years of High School (E.L. Crossley) volleyball team – 1 year SOSSA champion and 3 years SOSSA finalists