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Panda pandemic pause Weiss-washed first year 

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It’s been like a year of waiting to open Christmas presents. 

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For her entire sporting career, Sherwood Park’s Abigail Weiss has wanted one present, and the appropriately-sized box has been sitting under the tree for this entire pandemic. 

Weiss, who graduated from the Strathcona Christian Academy Eagles last year, was able to realize the first part of her athletic dreams when she signed on with the University of Alberta Pandas women’s volleyball team — something she had at the top of her wish list after years of playing for their club volleyball program. 

Abigail Weiss was named the Eagles’ MVP, SCA’s female athlete of the year for 2020, and even an Edmonton Metro Athletics female volleyball all-star. Photo supplied
Abigail Weiss was named the Eagles’ MVP, SCA’s female athlete of the year for 2020, and even an Edmonton Metro Athletics female volleyball all-star. Photo supplied

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 crisis has meant that Weiss has had her college Pandas debut delayed for an extra year with, no university sports taking place during what would have been the 2020-2021 campaign. 

As is often the case, it was a family connection that netted her initial interest in volleyball. 

“My older siblings played and I would always go their games when I was young, so I got into it as soon as I could,” said the 19-year-old Park product. “I have developed a real love for volleyball. It’s such a team sport. Nothing really happens without good teamwork. I love the atmosphere. It is so competitive. I have also always had good coaches.” 

Weiss went on to suit up for Team Alberta in the Canada Cup in her Grade 11 season and was a vital component for the Strathcona Christian Academy Eagles senior girls team as their starting setter and team captain, leading them to the 2019 Metro City Championship title.  

She was named the Eagles’ MVP, her school’s female athlete of the year for 2020 and even an Edmonton Metro Athletics female volleyball all-star. 

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All of that led to a dream fulfilled when the U of A Pandas came calling. 

 “It was really exciting,” Weiss said. “I started playing with the Pandas Volleyball Club right from the start and they are so involved with the U of A team. We would always go to their games and were so familiar with their players. Ever since I first started playing, I thought it would be so cool to play for the U of A. As I started getting closer to deciding where to go and the offer came in, I almost couldn’t believe it. I had been wanting it to happen for so much of my life, and it was incredible to actually achieve it.” 

Weiss admits it has been frustrating spinning her wheels and not getting into an actual game due to the pandemic pause, but that the best is yet to come.  

“We got to practice for a fair bit of the year, other than a few times when the government shut us down,” she said. “I definitely still feel like a Panda. But I am even more excited for this upcoming year in the fall because it will be more of a team atmosphere and hopefully we should start to get playing games. It’s still pretty cool just being here and being with the U of A Pandas. And it is only going to get better.” 

sjones@postmedia.com 

twitter.com/Realshanejones 

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