Redeemer University College has their first female Player of the Year in program history. Women’s volleyball star, Curtiss Straatsma, was honoured with the sports’ top award on Thursday morning at the Provincial Championship Awards Banquet in North Bay. Straatsma was also named a CCAA All-Canadian and is a nominee for National Player of the Year.
Since joining the Royals five years ago, Straatsma has repeatedly broken records and set new standards that will now be the benchmarks for the program. She capped it all off with a incredible final season that saw her break the OCAA career kills record and the OCAA career points record, as well as earning the leagues top award on Thursday.
The award came as a shock to Straatsma who was in attendance at the banquet. “With such a competitive women’s volleyball league this year, it is a huge honour to receive this award. It was not something I was expecting but definitely something that has been a long-term goal of mine, and something that feels amazing to be honoured with.”
While an opportunity to play in her final OCAA Championship was lost on Saturday in a defeat to Algonquin College in a playoff crossover match, today’s banquet provided the venue for Straatsma to properly close out her historic career. “With this being my last year playing as a Redeemer Royal, it is very special to leave this kind of mark behind. It shows that the Redeemer Royals are able to accomplish great things. I look forward to seeing the women’s volleyball program continually grow in the years to come.”
The awards banquet, hosted in North Bay by Canadore College, was the fifth banquet in a row that Straatsma has won a league award. The 5-time all-star, is one of only a few volleyball players to win 5 consecutive OCAA All-star awards. Straatsma was named a first team all-star this year to go along with her Player of the Year award.
Head Coach Brad Douwes was in attendance at the Championship banquet and commented, “Curtiss has been a top player in the OCAA for the past five years and I am very happy that she is receiving this recognition. It is clear that the other OCAA coaches agree she is very deserving of this award. As her coach I am very proud of the leader and person she has become in addition to the outstanding player she is. Curtiss has worked extremely hard for the past five years and is a big reason our program has become a top program in the OCAA each year. Curtiss is an outstanding choice to represent Ontario as the OCAA Women’s Volleyball Player of the Year.”
Straatsma joins Redeemer badminton player, Owen Kurvits, who was also named the OCAA Player of the Year the week prior at the Badminton Provincial Championship. This is the first time that Redeemer has won multiple Player of the Year awards in a single season.
The last volleyball player to win the leagues top award for Redeemer was Ryan Talsma ’10.
Redeemer middle Charlene DeVries also picked up some hardware at the banquet. DeVries had another stellar season for Redeemer with 2.8 ppg. Charlene was #8 in the OCAA in blocks (34) and had one of the best kill percentages in the league.