Struck by family tragedy, will return to Manitoba after seeing the WolfPack into the playoffs for the first time
Nathan Crosby, Sports Editor Ω
Being a successful athlete and dealing with a personal tragedy at the same time would be one of the hardest obstacles to deal with at university.
WolfPack volleyball setter, Kara Twomey, knows this. Yet she fought through it.
In her second year, Twomey put the pressure of getting the women’s volleyball team into the playoffs in her hands and she came through in leaps and bounds.
The setter finished sixth in the Canada West in assists, averaging 8.55 per game. Her focus never strayed from the court when she was getting ready to make a perfect pass to a hitter.
She showed amazing determination and skill, considering what she went through in her rookie year.
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Twomey came to TRU in the fall of 2010.
“It was a big change moving away from home and my first week or two I was hating it, I wanted to go back [to Winnipeg],” she said.
“But then once I got used to it here, I love it.”
On January 30, 2011, her world was turned sideways when her older brother, Derek, died at the age of 21. He had taken a prescription drug and suffered a severe reaction in his sleep that night. He didn’t wake up the next morning.
He was the role model that every younger sibling wants in an older brother.
He had finished playing two years of volleyball at Camosun College and wanetd to pursue a degree in psychology.
In fact, he was the one that inspired Kara to play volleyball.
“I was always at the games watching and he was a setter so that’s immediately what I wanted to do,” she said.
The hardship she has faced didn’t affect her play on the court, but she said it is too hard to play with
Derek in the back of her mind. Twomey has decided that she has to return to Winnipeg after the end of this school year.
“I always played volleyball for [Derek] and I came back thinking I’d have a good year, but I didn’t enjoy it as much,” she said.
Twomey’s presence will be missed.
“Her loyalty was tremendous,” WolfPack head coach Keith Lundgren said.
“She’s developed into a leader. She is a tremendous kid that faced adversity well.”
Lundgren’s team made their first ever appearance in the playoffs, finishing seventh in the Canada West and winning nine games, a school record.
“Keith was very understanding of my situation,” Twomey said.
“I wasn’t sure how this year would go and he expected a lot from me. He wants the best for his players and was hoping for the best for me.”
She also credits her roommate, team captain Kelly Asleson, for her guidance and friendship.
Twomey wants to continue to her studies in child and youth care but wants to take some time off from volleyball.
She is hoping to help coach the team at her old high school, Glenlawn Collegiate in Winnipeg.
“It was a great two years here, we had some ups and downs but it ended on a high note and everyone was part of making it what it was,” she said.
“I’m going to miss Kamloops and the people that I’ve met.”
Twomey has faced a personal loss that no one deserves to endure.
But she willed herself to take the volleyball team to a new level. Her love of the game is because of Derek.