Hawkes, Brisbane named RDC athletes of the year

Bronwyn Hawkes couldn`t have written a better script for her final year with the RDC Queens volleyball team. Hawkes, who took over as starting setter in the 2013-14 season, led the Queens to a 25-2 record in the ACAC and played a major role in the Queens capturing their second consecutive Canadian Colleges Athletic Conference championship.

Bronwyn Hawkes couldn`t have written a better script for her final year with the RDC Queens volleyball team.

Hawkes, who took over as starting setter in the 2013-14 season, led the Queens to a 25-2 record in the ACAC and played a major role in the Queens capturing their second consecutive Canadian Colleges Athletic Conference championship.

She was on the ACAC All-Conference team for the South Division, an all-star at the national championship and all-star and tournament MVP at the ACAC finals.

To put the lid on the season she was named the RDC female athlete of the year at the Athletic Awards Banquet at RDC Friday.

She shared the spotlight with volleyball Kings first-year setter Luke Brisbane, who received the top male award. Brisbane, a native of Australia, won almost every individual award handed out this season.

He was on the ACAC All-Conference team in the South Division, the ACAC male volleyball player of the year, the ACAC men`s athlete of the year for all sports, an All-Canadian and the CCAA male volleyball player of the year.

He was a first team all-star at the ACAC and CCAA championships.

The only disappointment came on the team side. The Kings finished second in the ACAC, losing to the host Augustana Vikings in the final, then ran into a string of injuries at the nationals and finished fifth.

Hawkes, who will attend the University of Alberta next season but doesn’t expect to play volleyball, was surprised to receive the award Friday.

“I certainly wasn`t expecting it,” she said. ”But it`s sweet.

“There were so many unforgettable moments with this team and I guess this is a good keepsake. There is nothing more I would have done … it’s the greatest way to end the season. I’m so glad I got to play with the players I did.”

Hawkes arrived at RDC from Notre Dame High School and was listed behind Kirsten Sorensen, who also came from Notre Dame.

“I always watched Kirsten, so she was kind of my inspiration, but I always wanted to start and Talbot (Queens head coach Walton) led me there. He was always a good coach for me since I was 13 and his encouragement pushed me to be the best I could be.”

Basketball veteran Dedra Janvier, soccer’s Jessica Whyte and hockey’s ACAC player of the year Megan Jones, were also in the running for the award.

Brisbane arrived at RDC expecting to battle Tegan McGraw for the starting spot. But McGraw ran into injury problems the first weekend of the season and Brisbane played every point the rest of the season.

“When I arrived here I had a lot of stuff to work on,” he said. “The first month or two my play was up and down, but as we got into the season I became more consistent. I gradually improved, gained confidence and went from there.”

There were times when he would have liked a break, but it wasn’t to be.

“Other guys did rest, but I had to stay in, which in the long run was fine,” he said.

“I had to stay in and continued to get more consistent. I love playing so really I was happy to be out there.”

Brisbane, who is a member of the Australian junior team, was pleased with the individual award, but he would have rather been accepting a national title.

“This is a nice recognition, but really this isn’t why anyone plays,” he said. “Since Day 1 of the season we were focused on winning the ACAC championship and the national championship. As it turned out it was disappointing, but we didn’t lose any respect as a program.”

Brisbane will be back next season as will a number of the starting lineup.

“I’m already looking forward to next August,” he said. “We will have a similar team back, and hopefully we do a little better.”

They will be without fifth-year power hitter Tim Finnigan, who was injured in the CCAA semifinal, which likely cost them a gold medal.

“He’d been battling the (quad) injury all season, but it was tough to lose him in the first set of the semifinal. But still I was proud of the way everyone played.”

Brisbane will go home to in a couple of weeks and take some time off prior to returning.

Basketball’s Matt Johnson and hockey Kings scoring leader Riley Simpson were also in the running for the award.

RDC Queens volleyball head coach Talbot Walton received special recognition as he received the Excellence Award for all CCAA sports.

The award recognizes overall coaching contributions over the last five years.

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