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Canadian Interuniversity Sport – BRANDON, Man. (CIS) – Iuliia Pakhomenko, a fourth-year left side hitter from Thompson Rivers University, was named the CIS player of the year in women’s volleyball, Thursday morning. 


An MBA student from Donetsk, Ukraine, Pakhomenko became the first TRU player to claim the prestigious Mary Lyons Award since the WolfPack joined CIS in 2005-06. She is also the seventh straight recipient from the Canada West conference.

Other CIS award winners announced during the All-Canadian Awards Breakfast held at the Victoria Inn Hotel and Convention Centre were Toronto opposite Aline Dormann, who captured the Mark Tennant Award as rookie of the year; Acadia opposite Sarah Ross, who merited the Thérèse Quigley Award for her excellence in volleyball, academics and community service; as well as UBC Okanagan bench boss Steve Manuel, who became a two-time winner of the Marilyn Pomfret Award as TIMEX coach of the year.

The CIS championship, hosted for the first time by Brandon University, kicks off Friday and culminates Sunday with the gold-medal final at 6 p.m. Central Time. All 11 matches from the eight-team competition will be televised locally on WCGtv and webcast live on  

MARY LYONS AWARD (player of the year): Iuliia Pakhomenko, Thompson Rivers

Pakhomenko, who left her native Ukraine in 2012 to enroll at Northwood University in Michigan (NCAA Div. II), was simply sensational in her second season with the WolfPack. The 5-foot-11 left side led the country in kills per set (4.67), total kills (425), points per set (5.5), total points (496.5) and service aces (50), while also leading her team with a .212 hitting percentage. With an astounding 1,009 total attacks in 24 matches, she was the most active hitter in the nation in conference play. 

Thanks in large part to her stellar play, Thompson Rivers improved from a 10-14 mark a year ago to 12-12 this season in league action, good for a playoff spot. The WolfPack were coming off back-to-back 0-22 campaigns before the business student joined the team.

A former member of the Ukrainian junior team who also won a national championship playing in her home country’s top league, Pakhomenko has been voted a first-team Canada West all-star in each of her two seasons with TRU and merited a spot on the first all-Canadian squad this year, after earning a second-team nod in 2015. 

“She is obviously our offensive leader. Being named the player of the year is a tremendous honor for Iuliia and our program,” said head coach Chad Grimm. “It’s proof that hard work pays off. Iullia has worked hard in the gym in the off-season and to improve all aspects of her game. Quite often, the player who wins this honour is someone who has reached the top of her game. It is my opinion that we haven’t seen the best of Iuliia yet. This year’s success is just another step on the ladder for her and, lucky for us, we have her for one more year.”

The other nominees were left side hitter Jill Snow of Memorial, left side Marie-Alex Bélanger of Montreal and middle Kelsey Veltman of Western.

MARK TENNANT AWARD (rookie of the year): Alina Dormann, Toronto

Dormann is only the second U of T player to receive the Mark Tennant Award since the inception of the trophy in 1991. Anastasia Danilova, also a right side hitter, was the 2004 recipient. 

The 6-foot-1 freshman from Ottawa had a spectacular rookie season with the Blues, ranking second in the conference with 4.1 points and third with 0.56 service aces per set, while also contributing a team-high 3.08 kills per set. Dormann helped Toronto to a program-best 19-0 record in league play, notching double-digit points in all but three matches this season.  

In addition to top-rookie honours, the life science major, who amassed a season-high 20 points in a 3-1 victory at RMC early in the season, was named a second-team all-Canadian and an OUA East first team all-star in her university debut.

“Alina has been very impressive this season. She is a fabulous athlete who loves to learn and has managed the many demands of being a CIS athlete extremely well in her first year,” said head coach Kristine Drakich. “This award is a great honour for Alina and also for her teammates who challenge each other to be better every day.”

The other nominees were right side hitter Kierstin Fey of Memorial, outside Sarah-Jeanne Meunier-Bédard of Sherbrooke and outside Carolina Alongi of Mount Royal.

MARILYN POMFRET AWARD (TIMEX coach of the year): Steve Manuel, UBC Okanagan

Manuel, who was previously honoured by his peers in 2012-13, merits the Marilyn Pomfret Award for the second time in only five CIS seasons. He had also claimed two national awards while in the CCAA. 

At the helm of the Heat for the 15th campaign overall, the New Brunswick native led UBC Okanagan to a remarkable fifth season on the CIS circuit, highlighted by a 32-3 overall record, eight weeks atop the national rankings, first place in the Canada West standings with a 22-2 mark, followed by a first appearance in the conference final and a first trip to the CIS championship.

In five Canada West seasons under Manuel, the Heat have made the playoffs four times and reached the Final Four on three occasions. Their 22 wins in league play this year are a new conference standard.

“When it comes to women’s volleyball, Canada West is clearly the strongest conference in CIS winning 30 of the last 33 championships. Steve has taken his team to the Final Four in only our third season in the league and they have now reached that stage three straight years,” said Rob Johnson, director of athletics and recreation at UBC Okanagan. “Steve couldn’t be more deserving of this award – he is truly a professional coach. He has assembled a great staff and they have guided this team to a remarkable season. To be honoured by his peers and chosen over the quality coaches that work in Canada West is a fitting reflection of how Steve is perceived.”

The other nominees were John Slauenwhite of Memorial, Rachèle Béliveau of McGill and Kristine Drakich of Toronto. 

THÉRÈSE QUIGLEY AWARD (volleyball, academics & community service): Sarah Ross, Acadia

Ross is the second Acadia student-athlete to receive the Thérèse Quigley Award since it was first presented in 1994. Lori-Beth MacEwan was a back-to-back winner in 2003 and 2004.

On the court, the third-year outside hitter finished third in the AUS conference this season in total kills (201) and kills per set (3.09), as well as total points (235) and points per set (3.6). 

In the classroom, the Toronto native is already a two-time CIS academic all-Canadian in environmental and sustainability studies, and she is on pace to earn the honour again this season. 

Ross is heavily involved in her community, volunteering her time as a coach as well as with several charities and causes. She was a coach for the Axe Academy last fall, completing sessions with athletes ages 8 to 14, and is also a support coach with the under-14 girls Axe Volleyball Program. She is also the senior leader and co-president of the Acadia Players’ Association and serves as an event coordinator for Relay for Life, which fundraising, volunteering at the event and acting as a team leader.

“Sarah is an integral part of our program excelling in the three pillars, accomplishing academic and athletic success as well as community outreach,” said head coach Michelle Wood. “Sarah exudes passion, constantly extending beyond herself to impact those around her. She is a leader for our program and is a tremendous ambassador for our institution.”

The other nominees were libero Joanie Whittom of Sherbrooke, middle Rebecca Steckle of McMaster and libero Jessie Niles of Alberta. 


The all-Canadian teams were also announced on Thursday, including an impressive five selections from the reigning national champion Trinity Western Spartans. 

Joining CIS player of the year Iuliia Pakhomenko on the first unit were conference MVPs Meg Casaultof Alberta and Kelsey Veltman of Western, as well as UBC Okanagan middle Katie Wuttunee, Trinity Western setter Nikki Cornwall, Trinity Western opposite Elly Wendel and Alberta libero Jessie Niles.

Casault became a three-time CIS all-star, including a second straight first-team nod. Pakhomenko made the second unit a year ago. 

In addition to CIS rookie of the year Alina Dormann, the second dream team for 2015-16 is comprised of RSEQ MVP Marie-Alex Bélanger of Montreal, Trinity Western left side Sophie Carpentier, McGill middle Myriam Robitaille, Trinity Western middle Katelyn Devaney, McGill setter Yasmeen Dawoodjeeand Acadia libero Hillary Monette.

Bélanger was also a second-team selection last season, while Carpentier was a first-team all-star in 2014.

Joining Dormann on the CIS all-rookie were right side Kierstin Fey of Memorial, setter/right side Courtney Baker of Dalhousie, setter Michelle Chelladurai of McMaster, outside Carolina Alongi of Mount Royal, left side Rowyn Neufeld of Trinity Western and outside Sarah-Jeanne Meunier-Bédard of Sherbrooke.


Mary Lyons Award (player of the year): Iuliia Pakhomenko, Thompson Rivers

Mark Tennant Award (rookie of the year): Alina Dormann, Toronto

Marilyn Pomfret Award (TIMEX coach of the year): Steve Manuel, UBC Okanagan

Thérèse Quigley Award (volleyball, academics & community service): Sarah Ross, Acadia

First Team

Pos.          Athlete                        University       Year    Hometown                  Academic Program


LS Iuliia Pakhomenko       Thompson Rivers        4          Donetsk, Ukraine         MBA    

LS Meg Casault                 Alberta             4          Edmonton, Alta.          Physical Education & Recreation         

M  Kelsey Veltman           Western           2          Brampton, Ont.            King’s College 

M  Katie Wuttunee            UBC Okanagan            5          North Vancouver, B.C.            Arts      

S   Nikki Cornwall            Trinity Western            3          Coquitlam, B.C.           Psychology      

OPP          Elly Wendel                 Trinity Western            4          Caronport, Sask.          Biblical Studies            

L   Jessie Niles                  Alberta             5          Turner Valley, Alta.     Science            

Second Team

LS Marie-Alex Bélanger    Montreal          3          Joliette, Que.                Advertising      

LS Sophie Carpentier        Trinity Western            4          Ottawa, Ont.                Undecided       

M  Myriam Robitaille        McGill             2          Terrebonne, Que.         Biology            

M  Katelyn Devaney         Trinity Western            3          Port Coquitlam, B.C.    Biology            

S   Yasmeen Dawoodjee   McGill             5          Ottawa, Ont.                Nutritional Science      

OPP          Alina Dormann            Toronto            1          Ottawa, Ont.                Life Science     

L   Hillary Monette            Acadia             5          New Minas, N.S.          Education                    

All-Rookie Team

OPP          Alina Dormann            Toronto            1          Ottawa, Ont.                Life Science     

RS            Kierstin Fey                 Memorial         1          Selkirk, Man.               Physical Education      

S/RS         Courtney Baker           Dalhousie        1          Bridgewater, N.S.         Kinesiology     

S   Michelle Chelladurai    McMaster         1          London, Ont.               Kinesiology     

OH           Carolina Alongi           Mount Royal    1          Calgary, Alta.               Health & Physical Education   

LS/OH      Rowyn Neufeld           Trinity Western            1          Richmond, B.C.           Religious Studies         

OH           Sarah-Jeanne Meunier-Bédard Sherbrooke      1          St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que.     Education        

About Canadian Interuniversity Sport

Canadian Interuniversity Sport is the national governing body of university sport in Canada. Every year, over 12,000 student-athletes and 700 coaches from 56 universities and four regional associations vie for 21 national championships in 12 different sports. CIS also provides high performance international opportunities for Canadian student-athletes at Winter and Summer Universiades, as well as numerous world university championships. For further information, visit or follow us on:





For further information, please contact:

Michel Bélanger        

Communications & Media Relations

Canadian Interuniversity Sport

T: 613-562-5670 ext. 25

C: 613-447-6334


Matt Packwood

Brandon University

T: 204-727-7375

C: 204-570-0842