Jaqueline Caverly talks about her volleyball roots, stats, and playing defensive
// Erik Horn

Like many kids growing up, Jacqueline Caverly tried her hand at the usual array of sports such as baseball, soccer, and swimming. However, the third-year business administration student found her calling in volleyball, where she is currently a member of the Capilano squad and leading the women of the PacWest for digs (averaging 4.67 a game, with 350 overall).

Caverly comes from a sports family, and that’s putting it lightly. She and her brother Dan are both in their third year of playing volleyball for Capilano, and Dan is second in the league for digs (averaging 3.28 a game, with 246 overall).

“I don’t think there’s really competition between us,” says Caverly about the volleyball relationship between her and her brother. “We’ve always played together, and we used to set up a court in our front yard. We’d invite people over and we’d play and practice all the time.”

The ties to volleyball in the family do not end there. Their parents, Tom and Sandra Caverly, not only played volleyball, but also met playing the sport. Caverly’s dad, Tom, eventually went on to work for Volleyball B.C. With a set of parents who were both avid volleyball players and a pair of kids with a burgeoning volleyball skill set, it seems only natural that there would be some good matches between the four.

“We used to [play them] when we were little, and [my parents] would run all these plays and try to trick us,” says Caverly.

She and Dan got their revenge, though: “Sometimes they would play Dan and I against just my dad, or just my mom. … I think it was hard for my parents that first day when they realized they couldn’t win against us anymore.”

There is also a third sibling, Katherine – however, she doesn’t play volleyball. Instead, she plays soccer for UBC, and before UBC she played for the Canadian U-17 squad.

Although Caverly has been having a fantastic season at Capilano, she remains humble: “Stats can sometimes be misleading,” she says. “It always feels good to see your name at the top of a list, but our defensive style affects it, the amount of playtime, the amount of games and our opponents … It’s something that I’m really proud of, but everyone is really strong … a lot of people are really focused on reaching the goal.”

Their head coach, Wayne Dejsardins, has built the Capilano women’s volleyball program from the ground up, leading them to the playoffs every year over the course of 13 seasons.

“Everyone knows how much work he does, he puts hours and hours and hours in … going over game tape, looking up all the stats,” says Caverly. “He knows just about everything about just about everyone … it’s really good to have him on your side as a coach.”

By the end of this season, Wayne Desjardins will no longer be leading the Blues women into the playoffs. After a lifetime involved in the sport, Desjardins will be hanging up the whistle: “It will be hard without him next year, but I’m sure that whoever they get will be able to continue on with what Wayne has built,” says Caverly.

Despite her small stature (she stands 5’5), Caverly found her place in the sport by playing a defensive game. “When you’re growing up, if you’re small, [the coaches] kind of ignore you in terms of offence … It’s really good that there’s a position that I can play that I don’t have to be forced to show my offensive skills,” she says.

With three more season left to play at Capilano, a new head coach on the way, and several new draft classes to come into what may possibly end up being a completely revamped system, it will be interesting to see where Caverly goes with her game, and how the entire squad deals with some of the challenges that they may be facing in the coming season.

//Erik Horn, sports writer
//Photo by Jason Jeon

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