Dodds beats the odds

KEN WIEBE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:45 AM ET

Tiffany Dodds is taking the term versatile to an entirely different level.

Dodds, who stands 6-foot-3 and hails from Lucky Lake, Sask., is so talented that she's could start at two positions with Canada's national women's volleyball team.

Dodds began yesterday's match at the 2007 NORCECA Women's Continental Volleyball Championship at right side but took over as the setter midway through the second set as Canada won a five-set thriller over Puerto Rico.

"I'll do whatever it takes to win," said Dodds. "It might not be perfect but I'll do my best. It's a big adjustment, but it's all mental."

Dodds, who is in her second season with the national team, admits there is a vastly different mindset when she's part of the offensive attack rather than running it as a setter.

LOVE THE CHALLENGE

"I love the challenge," said Dodds, who is planning to take the year off from school and is close to signing her first professional contract to play in Korea.

"When you're the setter, it's a totally different mentality. You're the quarterback and not only do you think tactically about what the other team is doing, you've got to put the ball in a good spot for the hitters.

"And after every play (as the setter), everyone looks at you."

But Dodds isn't exactly campaigning to become the starting setter either.

"I don't have a preference," said Dodds, 21. "It depends on which team I'm playing on and what each individual team needs. I like the fact that I can do both."

Dodds is coming off an unbelievable season that saw her help the Alberta Pandas win the CIS championship.

FIRST-TEAM ALL-CANADIAN

She was a first-team All-Canadian, Canada West and CIS Nationals MVP, a Nationals All-Star and the CIS Player of the year in 2007.

Not a bad list of accomplishments for someone who still has two years of eligibility remaining.

Dodds, who hopes to become an elementary teacher when her volleyball career is over, began playing the sport in Grade 5 and has a great support network, since both her parents, Lois and Gary (who are attending the games this week), coach volleyball and are referees.

One of her two older brothers, Mark, is a member of the men's national team, so Tiffany has someone who has been through many of the experiences she's going through herself.

"We're really close and it's nice to be able to talk about things," said Tiffany, noting her oldest brother Mike enjoys baseball and golf.

Tiffany played a lot of different sports as a youngster, but really began focusing on her volleyball dream in 1999.

"I watched the World Juniors in Saskatoon and I don't know if I actually said I was going to play on the national team," said Tiffany. "Coming from a town of 300 people, I just didn't think it was possible that I would get an opportunity to play where I've played."

Lois says it's exciting to see Tiffany living her dream.

"It's so awesome," said Lois. "We watched her play in NORCECA's when she was a junior (in Salt Lake City in 2002), but this is the first time we've seen her play at the national (senior) level."

Judging by what we've seen so far, Dodds should be a mainstay on the women's national team for years to come, regardless of what position she is asked to play.


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