Leading by example
On a team full of experience and a crop of all-star calibre players, it is often hard to pick just one player who stands out. This has definitely been the case with the McMaster women’s volleyball team with a different player leading the charge in seemingly every match this season.
One Marauder highlighted regularly this year was middle blocker Maicee Sorensen. The fifth-year geography and environmental studies major has been a mainstay on the Marauders’ women’s roster for the past five seasons.
But it was this past season when Sorensen really stepped up her game and made a name for herself on the national stage. Throughout the Marauders’ provincial silver medal campaign, Sorensen nearly doubled her hitting average from the previous season and averaged nearly a full point more per set as well.
“I have been playing in the league for five years now. That time and experience is definitely the main reason I was able to play as consistently as possible,” Sorensen said. “I’ve learned the game by watching others before me.”
“It’s the experiences with my teammates everyday that I’m going to remember. It’s the people that I have met and loved for the last five years that I am most fond of.”
McMaster Women’s Volleyball Team
While she may have learned techniques from past Marauders, Sorensen’s precision and her presence at the net have made her a key starter. This past season, Sorensen played a main role on the court every game, making up half of the OUA-dominating middle with Hailey Kranics. Her on-court presence was also evident on the stat sheet, ranking at or near the top in nearly every major statistical category this season.
Sorensen finished second in Ontario University Athletics in hitting average (.435), fifth in aces per set (.54) and 15th in both kills per set (2.63) and blocks per set (.68). Sorensen also led the Marauders with 3.6 points per set, the tenth highest per set average in the province.
This statistical dominance made Sorensen the first Marauder to win OUA West Player of the Year, and earned her a spot on the OUA West All-Star First Team for the second consecutive year.
Sorensen’s success was also recognized nationally as she was named a First Team All-Canadian, becoming only the second Marauder to gain the designation (the first being Jenn Holt in 2009). Sorensen was also nominated for the Mary Lyons award for U Sports women’s volleyball player of the year as the only player from Ontario to make the final list.
Her success this year and over her career is not only a result of her dedication to the team and her own self-improvement, but also because of her love for the sport itself and the community that surrounds it.
“My top memory of this season is similar to the previous years,” said Sorensen. “I love the sport, but mostly, I love it as a team sport. I have gotten to meet new athletes and I’m excited to watch them grow over the next few years.”
During her tenure with the team, Sorensen’s role has gradually changed every year, from the first time she stepped on the court at Burridge Gym to her final match at this year’s OUA Final in the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
“My role this year on the team is definitely different from previous years,” Sorensen said. “You start out as someone trying your best to take everything in you can from players in front of you, as the years pass you become the player that people look to. I tried my best to lead by example in any way I could and just put everything I have into the sport.”
This evolution has paid dividends for the Marauders. In her time with the team, the Marauders have won two OUA championships and were close to a third this season. The Marauders have always been a top contender in Ontario every season over Sorensen’s career.
Looking back on her time as a Marauder, while the banners the team raised and the individual accolades she has received are nice markers of her achievements with the team, Sorensen will remember the personal moments with her fellow Marauders most of all.
“My fondest memories as a Marauder is winning two OUA championships,” Sorensen said. “But when you think back to memories, it’s the experiences with my teammates everyday that I’m going to remember. It’s the people that I have met and loved for the last five years that I am most fond of.”
While the Hamilton native is unsure of what her future holds, whether it be attending teacher’s college or following her dream of playing pro, her memories of the McMaster community and the women’s volleyball team will always remain a part of her. Her presence both down the middle and in the Marauders’ locker room will be sorely missed.