Sandman Player of the Month: Bereziuk's terrific play led Griffins to six-game winning streak

Sandman Player of the Month: Bereziuk's terrific play led Griffins to six-game winning streak

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – After leading the Griffins women's volleyball team to a six-game winning streak over the past month, Mariah Bereziuk has been named the Sandman Signature Downtown Edmonton Player of the Month as the Griffins' top athlete in November-December across all sports.

Bereziuk wins a free night's stay at the Sandman Signature Downtown Edmonton.

Including the Griffins' two December matches, Bereziuk has been on a roll with 113 kills over 27 sets in the team's last eight games, six of which have been victories.

In MacEwan's 3-0 win over Regina on Nov. 25, she reached 500 career kills.

"Pretty outstanding, right? I know she had a really good season last year and just coming into this season, I know she was driven again to have a really big year," said Griffins head coach Chris Wandler. "She really appreciated the efforts of all her coaches in the past and she wanted to accumulate those efforts into one really good season, and I think this one's it, for sure.

"It's been remarkable seeing the progress, the learning piece. Even being a fourth-year (player), there are still little bits she takes away every practice – it sparks a little bit of a lightbulb and it's making her into a really good overall U SPORTS player."

For the season, Bereziuk is up to 163 kills, which is second-best in Canada West, and her kills/set average (4.08) is also second best in the conference. The Grassland, Alta. product is also second in points (192.0) and third in points/set (4.8).

Bereziuk is also tied for ninth in Canada West in aces (19) and is tied for 19th in digs (87), proving how great of an overall player she's become.

"Parts of her game still needed to grow coming in (to this season)," said Wandler. "As far as the serving goes, we just worked with her on a process and just stuck with that. As a result, she's got all these aces. It was just more so her approach in her head about how we were going to go about doing that. 

"As far as the defensive part of it, we kept things pretty simple this year in our defensive philosophy and fundamentals," he continued. "I think she's taken big strides in that type of idea. And even more so is her passing. She didn't have outstanding passing numbers the past few years being a middle blocker (from high school) converted to the outside. This year, we've made a conscious effort to make some changes … so she's gotten better passing numbers, too. 

"Just overall, her game has just kind of propelled. She's a really good U SPORTS player coming from a very small town. Not too many of those around."

The Griffins have firmly put themselves in the Canada West playoff picture after rattling off six-straight wins, sweeping Brandon, Regina, and Mount Royal in successive weekends to move to 9-3 in the standings. They're among the top six teams in the conference, a list which includes 11-1 UBC, 10-0 Trinity Western, 10-2 Alberta, 10-2 Manitoba and 9-3 UFV.

MacEwan will host Manitoba to kick off the second semester on Jan. 5-6 (7:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., respectively, David Atkinson Gym, Canada West TV).