Women’s Volleyball returns to Sault College

Photo: Sherri Smith, Sault College Vice President, Academic, Innovation and Student Services and Paul Orazietti, Director of Athletics and Student Experiences, at Tuesday’s press conference announcing the return of women’s volleyball.

Women’s volleyball at Sault College is back in the game. The team will be back in the Ontario College Athletics Association (OCAA) after what will have been a 14-year absence. They’ll begin play in 2025.

Sault College Athletics made the announcement at a presser at the school Tuesday afternoon.

The return of women’s volleyball to our varsity lineup completes our vision of competing in varsity sports that have strong, deep and highly competitive roots in Sault Ste. Marie,” Director of Athletics and Student Experiences Paul Orazietti said in a release. “We’re looking forward to bringing more opportunities to our female athletes on campus. With club volleyball exploding locally, we are expecting to be highly competitive right out the gate.”

Volleyball’s return, Orazietti said, has been the subject of discussion the past couple of years. It only made sense, he said, that with a top-notch gymnasium, Sault College would look to bring back volleyball.

Recruiting is the lifeblood of college athletics and Orazietti says great effort and emphasis will be placed on bringing in quality student athletes.

“Recruiting will begin immediately,” said Orazietti.

He’s excited with how volleyball has progressed in the Sault and pointed to Steel City Ignite and the 705 Volleyball Academy as great pools from which to draw talent.

“I just see how much volleyball there is in this community and I know that we’ll be competitive. While we will be recruiting players from outside of our community we’re confident the core group can be built from our local talent pool.”

The Sault College Cougars will compete in the OCAA’s West division which features some of the very best women’s volleyball squads in the country, including the Humber Hawks and Mohawk Mountaineers.

The west’s other clubs are Fanshawe Falcons, Cambrian College Golden Shield, St. Clair Saints, Niagara Knights, Conestoga Condors, Redeemer Royals and Boréal Vipères.

Orazietti says a coaching staff should be in place soon.

“We have a few great candidates,” he said. “Great local candidates. We’re working on that piece.”

It’s Orazietti’s hope that once the staff is in place, the team can play some exhibition games with athletes that may officially join the program for 2025.

The re-introduction of volleyball brings the total number of varsity teams at Sault College to six, with about 150 athletes in total. Orazietti says the focus will be to concentrate resources, spend judiciously and make all six programs strong.

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