By Jadon Frank
Special to the Lacombe Express
Regan Kooyman’s quickness and analytical ability make her the type of student athlete that Nolan Weinmaster loves to coach.
The setter is graduating from Central Alberta Christian High School (CACHS) in Lacombe has committed to Briercrest for the 2013-14 season.
Kooyman played for the CACHS Knights in Grades 10-12.
Briercrest head coach Nolan Weinmaster has been impressed `with what he has observed from Kooyman.
“Regan is going to bring a high level of skill to our team,” explained Weinmaster. “She has good ball control and location of her sets. She is very quick in getting to the ball and does a great job on defense. I am looking forward to the work ethic, great attitude and passion for the game that she will bring as well. I am so excited about Regan joining our program and can’t wait to work with her this fall.”
Kooyman started playing volleyball in Grade 7, the same year that she began playing club volleyball for the Lacombe Dynamite, where she has continued playing each club season.
She quickly took to the setter position that first year of volleyball and has played there ever since. Mel Brandsma was Kooyman’s high school volleyball coach at CACHS and took note of the intelligence and confidence that Kooyman held.
“At first impression, Regan may seem a little shy and unsure of herself,” said Brandsma. “What you soon discover is that the neutral look you are getting is really a smokescreen because underneath she is analyzing, deciphering and deciding on how she will learn. She has grown in her confidence to lead, her confidence in her own abilities and as well the ability to deal with setbacks. “Regan is an athlete who is always thinking. That is why the role of setter works so well for her as she understands tactics based upon strengths and weaknesses of our team and the opposition. If she understands why something needs to be done and how it could be done, she is fully committed to the process.”
Ted Jardine, Kooyman’s club coach with the Lacombe Dynamite, took note of her athletic ability when he first met her. “My first impression (was her) quickness to get to every ball and her ability to distribute the ball to proper locations to run offensive attack,” said Jardine.
“I have had the privilege of coaching Regan for the past three club seasons. She has matured on and off the court to help our teams be very competitive in all competitions throughout Alberta and at Nationals.”
The 2012 season was one where Kooyman received several individual accolades.
“I received volleyball athlete of the year in 2012,” said Kooyman. “I also was tournament MVP at the 2012 Calgary Christian Invitational.”
When asked to describe Kooyman, Brandsma was quick to use the words dedication and commitment. Jardine agrees with this description.
“I describe Regan as a determined young lady willing to put the individual effort in to make herself the best she can be on and off the court,” said Jardine. “She has an inner commitment to push herself to be better each time on the court which cannot be taught.”
Brandsma is interested in seeing how Kooyman grows during her time at Briercrest. “I believe (she will grow) in her confidence in herself and gaining the freedom to be independent of outside infl9uences,” said Brandsma. “I look forward to seeing her play when she comes into the area. Academically, she will put in the work required and I am trusting that God will lead her to discover an area to focus on.”
Jardine also expects big things from Kooyman as she transitions to Briercrest.
“I would say Regan will learn quickly from the veteran players to do what it takes to put the time and effort in at practices to be successful on game day,” said Jardine.
“It will be a big learning curve for Regan going from high school and club to the next level, but the Briercrest coaching staff will make the transition easier for Regan as they have watched her many hours knowing where her strengths and growth areas need attention.
“In the classroom Regan is an outstanding student-athlete. She understands that to be successful on the court she must first be successful in the classroom. Since I have known her this will go just fine.”
Jardine feels that Briercrest is the perfect place for Kooyman.
“From my perspective it is a match made in heaven, said Jardine. “Regan can continue to share her faith through the wonderful game of volleyball. What faith-based student-athlete would not want that opportunity?”
Kooyman plans on studying business at Briercrest and is looking forward to the whole experience this fall.
“I am looking forward to playing volleyball, meeting new people, and just having a good college experience,” said Kooyman.