The seeds of a leader, and a strong technical setter, were what led Tim Louks to Rebecca Maxwell. Ultimately, they are what earned her a spot among the defending OUA women’s volleyball champions this fall.
Maxwell, a two-time member of Team Ontario and current star for the Ottawa Mavericks club program, was announced as McMaster’s latest commit on April 18, joining London-based outside hitter Maddie Lethbridge in a small and highly-selective recruiting class for Louks.
“The way in which she plays the game stood out to me,” said Louks of his newest charge. “In the role that she fills as a setter, the one thing that immediately was impressive about her was the way the kids around her play really hard for her, no matter what environment she is in.”
Chosen to Team Ontario at the 16 and 17U levels, Maxwell partook in provincial team duty in each of the previous two summers, competing at Volleyball Canada’s National Team Challenge in British Columbia in 2015, before taking part in the USA Volleyball High Performance Championships, and winning bronze, in 2016.
What separates Maxwell from the pack in her estimation is her approach of to the game, honed both at the outside hitting and setting positions over the course of her club career.
“I started off as a left side, and a left side’s mentality is quite different,” Maxwell explained. “They are a lot more intense and emotional.
“Transitioning to setting, I needed to learn how to control that much more, but I still wanted to bring the loud, athletic side of my game out and keep trying new things all of the time and giving my hitters the best possible way to score.”
Currently a student at Ottawa’s Louis Riel high school, Maxwell has designs on both Health Sciences and Kinesiology at McMaster. She was well acquainted with the school even before entering her recruiting process in September, as her mother is an alumna and graduate of the midwifery program.
“What the science programs at McMaster offer versus other schools was a big draw for me,” said Maxwell. “The feeling of community around this program is something I really want to experience, too.”
With two experienced setters ahead of her on the depth chart this coming fall, Louks sees a golden opportunity for Maxwell to learn and adapt to University life, and the OUA playing standard, without the pressure of being thrust into the everyday lineup.
“There’s no real pressure for her to have to do ‘x,’ but there’s certainly an opportunity for her to improve what’s happening around her,” he said.
“From the perspective of touching the ball and making and building relationships with hitters, that’s fantastic. That’s a luxury that most first-year players don’t realize that they have until they’re in it.”
Important milestones loom for Maxwell before her Marauders career can get underway. She and her Mavericks teammates face the OVA Championship between April 21 and 23, with the likelihood of the national tournament to follow. In the classroom, the finishing touches on Grade 12, and the all-important acceptance letter, remain.
But a promising future with one of the country’s top volleyball programs, and science faculties, waits over that horizon.
Source: Fraser Caldwell