Number 9 Emily Foest runs the gauntlet. SUPPLIED

Fenwick’s Emily Foest and her Badgers finish sixth in national tournament

Brock University teams emerged from the Covid-19 pandemic with a spike in athletic prowess, qualifying in an unprecedented five sports for national championship tournaments this season.

Of special note are three teams —women’s hockey, women’s volleyball, and men’s basketball — that won provincial titles.

The Women’s Volleyball Badgers, ranked number two in the province, defeated the third-ranked University of Toronto Varsity Blues to capture the Quigley Cup at the Bob Davis Gymnasium in St. Catharines on Saturday, March 19. It was the first OUA title for Brock in the program’s history, and was sparked by the play of outside hitter Emily Foest of Fonthill, who had nine kill shots in the game.

The victory extended Brock’s winning streak to 16-0, a new team record.

The Badgers faced U of T again at the nationals in Calgary the weekend of March 25-27, seeded number two in the tournament, but lost in the consolation final to the Varsity Blues. Brock finished the tournament in sixth place. Trinity Western Spartans defeated the Mount Royal Cougars in the gold medal game.

Brock actually qualified for the national tournament two years ago, but the championships were canceled due to Covid.

Foest attended St. Kevin’s and Notre Dame in Welland for her elementary and secondary schooling, developing the volleyball skills which led her to additional competition at the local club and provincial team level.

“I always wanted to play Division One in the U.S., but once I decided that I wanted to study in the medical field, it made sense to stay in Canada,” Foest told the Voice. “I chose Brock because of its strong medical sciences program, and the quality of its volleyball program.”

Playing the role of outside hitter, Foest’s job is to relentlessly attack the net and score kill shots.

As a first-year university player, there is definitely a learning curve

My main focus this past season was to adapt to this new level of play,” said Foest. “As a first-year university player, there is definitely a learning curve.”

Standing five feet, ten inches, Foest’s plan is to compete for Brock throughout her four or five years at the school.

“Adapting to online classes during the pandemic restrictions and Covid protocols has been manageable,” she said. “It has been a busy schedule with all the team practises, games, and meetings, combined with the academic demands. It was a bit of a bumpy ride at times, but overall, not too stressful. I definitely developed some very good time management skills this year.”