May 22, 2002
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara University graduating senior Merrin Thompson was named to the Canadian National Volleyball Team. She will compete as a libero on the team next month in Halifax, Nova, Scotia, where Canada hosts matches against the national teams from Japan and Australia.
Another tryout will occur after the tournament. If Thompson makes the next cut, she will compete at the World Championship in Germany in August.
"I knew this was something I wanted to do," Thompson said. "Jon (Wallace) let me come back and I trained with the team every morning at 7 a.m. I also worked out a lot on my own before I went to camp.
Thompson was invited to training camp, held in Winnipeg, Manitoba, May 1-17. She received official word from head coach Lorne Sawula that she had made the roster last Thursday. More than 60 women tried out with 20 competing for 15 spots on Canada's A Roster.
When she arrived for camp, Thompson knew there was already another libero on the team, but she was hoping Sawula would include an additional spot on his roster.
"I had a meeting with the coach early in the camp and he told me they were really only going to take one libero," she explained. "I left that meeting disappointed, but decided at the end of the day to make it so he wouldn't be able to cut me. I wanted to turn the tables on him not so he'd pick me over the other player, but so that I'd impress him enough that he couldn't cut me out of the whole program. I worked as hard as I could and it worked out for me. And he's allowing me to come back to campus and graduate before joining the team."
Thompson is set to graduate next month with a degree in marketing. She said she would like to pursue a career in sports marketing, but wants to see how far she can go in volleyball first.
"I've always thought about going out for the team," Thompson said. "I went this time because I felt I belonged there. I knew I had a chance to make it. Whatever happens from here is okay because I've opened doors for myself and I can go from here. I just wanted to have some options.
"At the same time, it was really surprising to make it," she continued. "Most people play on the B Team for a few years and then make the natural progression to the A Roster."
Thompson was one of three Broncos that saw action in every game last season and was ranked fourth in the WCC in digs with a 3.23 per-game mark. She posted double digits in digs in 19 of the team's 29 matches, including eight consecutive matches in September, with a career high of 23. She began the season as a defensive specialist, but moved to an outside hitter midway through the year.
The Broncos went 87-36 during her four years on the mission campus advancing to four straight NCAA Tournaments. Thompson was a key factor in the Broncos' 2000 West Coast Conference Championship. She finished her SCU career in the top 10 for career dig average.
One of Canada's top setters during her prep career, Thompson attended Centennial Secondary in Coquitlam, British Columbia.
"I've played a lot of positions, which I think will help me right now," Thompson said. "All of the positions work together and now I'm in this new position, so I can draw of my past experiences. I have some adjustments to make because Canada has been playing with the libero for the last four years, and it's just now entering the college game for next season, but I'm really excited."