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Tuesday, Sep. 25, 2018
Nicole Collard comes back for one final shot with the Humber Hawks
by Randy Pascal

Turns out Lasalle Secondary alumnus Nicole Collard wasn’t ready to leave the world of post-secondary volleyball behind – at least, not quite yet.

Following a highly successful four year career with the Guelph Gryphons, the two time Northern Chill Volleyball ClubPlayer of the Year” will complete her eligibility with the OCAA powerhouse Humber Hawks in September.

Ironically, this option really wasn’t on the radar at all when Collard graduated from Guelph last December. “This past year, I coached a 15U girls rep volleyball team based out of Cambridge,” noted Collard recently.

“The head coach is actually really good friends with (Humber head coach) Chris Wilkins. She mentioned that I had a year of eligibility left, and he just so happened to be looking for middles. I sent him an email introducing myself, and then here we are.”

Given that her last taste of OUA action dates back more than a year now, Collard is not blind to the work that lies ahead. “I think the biggest challenge will be bringing up my fitness level back to where it needs to be,” she said.

“As far as becoming a member of a new team, the biggest challenge is going to be connecting with a new setter. I don’t think it’s going to take very long, but we are definitely going to have to work on our connection.”

Collard would suit up in a total of 67 games for the Gryphons between 2012 and 2016, accumulating 422 points, 279 kills and 179 blocks. “We are extremely excited to have Nicole join the Hawks next season,” noted coach Wilkins in a Humber issued media release.

“She is the type of student-athlete that makes everyone around her better. Nicole will make an immediate impact in the OCAA and will help us compete for a national championship.” It’s very lofty praise for the Sudbury product, but one which falls very much in line with her own expectations for the upcoming season.

“I think I’m going to bring an element of experience and intensity to this new team,” said Collard. “Every girl on the team has the talent and skill to be part of the program, but what the younger girls don’t have is experience.”

“I think that’s going to be a key thing that I bring to the court. I have four years of playing in the OUA under my belt, which I think will show on the court at critical times in the matches.” And while this is likely her last stop on this particular portion of her journey, Collard is approaching this with a somewhat more open mind, given her recent past.

“As for my future in volleyball, I don’t really see myself playing much after my time at Humber is finished,” she conceded. “Then again, I didn’t think I would be playing after Guelph, so who knows what the future holds.”

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