Alberta Pandas 1995-2000 (WVB | Team)
NAME: Pandas Volleyball 1995-2000
SPORT: Women's volleyball
Six straight national titles
4 CIAU Players of the Year
2 CIAU Coaches of the Year
24 Canada West All-Stars
The 1995-2000 Alberta Pandas volleyball teams were a spectacle to watch.
In 1995, the Pandas announced their dominance on the national stage and controlled the narrative of Canadian university women’s volleyball for the following six years.
The first team, led by CIAU Coach of the Year Laurie Eisler and CIAU National Championship MVP Mirka Pribylova, went a perfect 16-0 during the regular season before securing their place as Canada West Champions.
The team then slayed their next beast, capturing CIAU gold for the first time in Pandas volleyball history.
The team was not ready to hang up their hats there. They repeated as conference and national champs in 1995-96 after going 13-1 on the year. The athletes glistened in excellence, losing only a single conference game over the two years while shining in the biggest moments.
The team eyed the elusive three-peat in 1996-97, turning dreams into reality as they again rose to the top of the conference and the country as champions.
In 1997-98, the team again shot up to the top of the Canada West standings throughout the regular season, knowing winning at that level was never as easy as they made it seem. They battled before succumbing to UBC in the conference final. Yet the team had the resilience to bounce back, conquering the pressures that come with being the three-time reigning national champions to make it four.
The following year came with more adversity, as the squad battle through the odds and a tougher regular season to resume its place atop the country. It was the fifth-straight title for the University of Alberta Pandas.
They had created a dynasty that was not done yet.
In 1999-2000, the Pandas’ winning culture showed itself in its regular season record, as they regained their near-perfect form to earn their sixth straight national championship title.
Throughout these six season, the Pandas also boasted four CIAU Player of the Year award winners in Jenny Cartmell (1998-99, 1999-2000) and Miroslava Pibylova (1995-96, 1996-97). Cartmell also caputured the Rookie of the Year award in 1995-96. Coach Laurie Eisler earned the country’s top honour in the first year of the run, while her successor, Dr. Lorne Sawula won the award in the team’s final year as champs.
The teams produced 24 Canada West All-Stars, 17 CIAU tournament all-stars, and 10 All-Canadians.
“In the storied tradition of University of Alberta athletics, no program had a more dominant stretch than the powerhouse Pandas volleyball team that won six straight National Championships from 1995 to 2000. Led by Laurie Eisler, now the winningest coach in Institution history, the Pandas Volleyball dynasty is one of the greatest teams in Canada West history. A truly remarkable stretch of success, one that is almost hard to believe, is a testament to the coaches and athletes who made it happen. The 39 students who led the Pandas on their historic run were not only stellar athletes during their time as Pandas, but have also become remarkable alumni and representatives of the University of Alberta since graduating. The Canada West Hall of Fame is another in a long list of accomplishments for the Pandas Volleyball Program,” said Ian Reade, Athletic Director of the University of Alberta.