By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
For many it can be rough, but for Allison Marshall, it’s going to be a proud moment.
Coming to the end of her final year of eligibility on the Ontario College Athletic Association (OCAA) circuit, Marshall will play her final games as a Durham College Lord as her undefeated (18-0) women’s volleyball team now move on to the post-season.
It’s gone by quick, but she won’t be entirely torn up to see this chapter of her life come to a close.
“It’s been five years of a lot of games, clearly, and it goes by quick, like I had no idea,” she says. “I wouldn’t say I’m fully sad about it. Obviously my volleyball career has been a huge part of my life and I think it’s just a chapter I need to close up. I think my time is done. I feel pretty happy about it being done.”
And what a chapter it has been. After spending three seasons with the Georgian Grizzlies, where she amassed an impressive 615 points, Marshall became part of an elite list of Lords who have surpassed the 1,000 point threshold doing so in a match against the Centennial Colts on Jan. 28. The Lords swept the Colts in straight sets with Marshall netting 10 kills, an ace and a block for 12 points.
The surprise came after the match when coach Tony Clark shared the news.
“I had no idea at all I was even around that point, so it was really surprising,” she says. “It kind of felt surreal, it felt like it wasn’t me.”
The path to that surreal moment began in Grade 7, when Marshall first picked up a volleyball at her elementary school in her hometown of Orillia. She would go on to start a volleyball club with a friend and continue to play throughout high school.
Immediately after high school, Marshall, and sister Erinn, who she has played alongside for years, both took up spots on the Grizzlies roster. It was Erinn who convinced her to make the switch to Durham, something she was unsure of at the time. However, she knows now it was the right call.
“Honestly, probably the best decision I’ve ever made,” she says. “My time at Durham has just been a year of changes and self-growth and kind of figuring out who I am…Everyone at Durham wants to see you succeed and I love Durham so much.”
The sport management student, who will dawn the gown and pick up her diploma at the end of this school year, says she is still figuring out what her next moves are. However, her exit from the court is made easier by the knowledge that she won’t be too far from the sport.
“I feel good about it because I know I’ll still be involved via coaching or managing,” she says, noting she would love an opportunity to pick up a position inside the OCAA organization. “I would like to find a career that involves volleyball, so something along those lines.”
Marshall and the rest of the women’s volleyball team wrapped up their regular season on Feb. 15 with a straight-sets sweep of the Fleming Knights in Peterborough. The final win marked the first time the Lords have held an undefeated record in conference play since the 2003-2004 season. The impressive season saw the Lords lose only five sets all year and win the eastern conference title for the second straight year.
“We’re happy and excited to win back-to-back east region titles and finish undefeated in the regular season,” states Clark in a news release. “We’ve accomplished step one of our goal this season – to win the east region – and now it’s time to really get to work. The championship is like a whole new season and we’ll work hard over the next week.”
The Lords will travel to St. Clair College to compete in the OCAA championship that runs from Feb. 24 to 26. The club will look to build on past appearances in the tournament where they have finished in the final four the last two seasons, including a silver medal win in 2015.