College Kids: Anna + Alina

Anna & Alina

Anna & Alina

When thinking which two athletes to profile next Alina and Anna popped into my head. Alina and Anna. Anna and Alina. If you know these two souls, you know that they are always together. I thought they became pretty close last summer but turns out they've always played college volleyball together for the past two years. Both girls were selected to join the program after tryouts last summer and both were asked to continue on throughout the entirety of the summer. There was a lot of changing between courts at any given time but Anna and Alina, whenever they came to compete with us, always came over with a fantastic work ethic and attitude. They rose to the challenge and did whatever coach asked of them. AND they created a joint instagram account last summer called george_feoremann_grill (see what they did there? hint: Anna's last name is Feore). Brilliant. I will be seeing them in less than two weeks time back at the Richmond Oval for tryouts and training! Enjoy: College Kids 2.0 featuring Anna and Alina. Alina and Anna. Alianna. 

“I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.”
— Invictus by William Ernest Henley



Position: Leftside/libero

Age: 21

Highschool: Stratford Central

University: University of Toronto

Year: 4

Major: Health and Disease & Physiology 

Hometown: Stratford


  • 2017 Victoria College Scholars Award (ongoing)
  • Women’s Volleyball Scholarship for U of T (ongoing)
  • 2017 OUA Second Team All-Star
  • 2018 Academic All-Canadian, OUA First Team All-Star

5 fun facts:

  • I love to sing and play piano 
  •  I have 2 big brothers, one whom I live with in Toronto who goes to U of T Law School and another who also lives in Toronto as a film editor. 
  • I pretty much floss before every game 
  • Favourite human is my momma. She is an absolute boss. 
  • 5 things I cannot travel without; my retainer, dental floss, face cream, lululemon pants, snacks.
  • (Bonus added by me): Her dad is in the TV and movie business with his biggest parts being in House of Cards, Thor, The Amazing Spider Man 2, 24... just to name a few. 

Tell me a little bit about your college and why you chose to go here post-secondary:

I go to the University of Toronto which was pretty much the only school I really had interest in. I knew it was a perfect fit on the day of my first campus tour and so I signed that same day in grade 12. It has a beautiful campus, a great mix of very old buildings and more modern architecture; it kind of reminded me of Hogwarts. U of T also has one of the best science programs in North America. The amazing team was icing on the cake for me, I clicked with the girls and the head coach instantly.  

What are your current goals, dreams, and aspirations?

Career wise I think I change my mind 3 times a year about what type of medical specialization I want to pursue but currently I want to be a fertility doctor. Volleyball wise I want to play this sport for as long as possible, through college, with Team Canada, as well as professionally over seas. I also want to give back to the sport when my playing days are over, probably in youth development. And personally, I want to feel fulfilled in my career and in my personal life. I want to look back on my life and say “that was everything I wanted it to be.” 


What year did you have the most success? What do you think that’s attributed to?

So far, my most successful year as a player was in my second year. We won our OUA conference and the National Championship. I was a starting leftside and improved so much over the course of the season. I honed in on my passing and defense skills and learned how to really use the block in my attacking. I attribute a lot of my success to the people around me. Kristine (head coach) and the assistant coaches put a lot of time and effort into developing my physical and mental skills and the girls I played with were so unwavering from their goal of winning nationals that I wanted to be my best not only for myself but also for them.
Game day routine?

Wake up, usually eat a large breakfast, go for a walk, do some homework or studying, eat again, nap, snack, floss, game time!

What do you do when you’re not playing your best:

I feel lucky to be a leftside because if one of my skills is not going the way I had planned, I can usually pull myself back into the game with another skill. I am more confident in my serve receive and defense than I am in my attacking so when attacking isn’t going well, I stay dialed in on my passing. The rest will hopefully fall into place after that. I also try to not take myself so seriously. I can laugh at myself if I get stuff-blocked or if I completely shank a ball.      

What you would tell your high-school self:

You have to study smart not study longer. My first semester of University I remember going absolutely crazy in the library and still not getting the grades I wanted. I eventually learned that it wasn’t just about studying “more” it was about studying properly and effectively.

The biggest lesson you’ve learned in university thus far:

Easy: time management. Being a student-athlete requires some seriously disciplined time management. I started using a day-planner in my 3rd year which was way too late. I have learned to study on a bus, airplane and on the floor of a hotel room. Whenever I’m not playing volleyball, I pretty much need to be doing schoolwork (with a tiny bit of Netflix).    

Player you most look up to and why:

Melissa Humana-Paredes. She is a defender on the Women’s Beach National Team. I deeply admire her athleticism and her technical skill but mostly I admire her dedication. She has been constantly improving since she joined the national team program and I respect the intense work she has put in to become one of the best defenders in the world. I also love that she is always smiling, she is so kind and loves the game, but that does not mask her passion and competitiveness. 

What are your personal goals for 2018:

Win OUA’s and then nationals, finish with a 4.0 GPA, make the women's senior national team, and score high on my MCAT. 

What was your first experience with Team Canada?

Last year (2017) was my first experience with Team Canada. I played as a libero for the first time ever. It was a wild ride working with head coach Marcello Abbondanza and was incredible to work with athletes who are older than me that inspired me daily to be better. At the end of the summer I competed in the World Universaide (FISU) Games which was also an amazing experience.

Favorite coach and why?

My favourtie coach(es) is the combination of Kristine Drakich and Vincenzo Malia at the University of Toronto. Kristine is amazing because of her incredibly extensive volleyball experience and Vincenzo compliments her style of coaching through his directness and technical knowledge. 

 If you could describe yourself as an athlete/player in 5 words, what would they be?

  • Adaptable 
  • Smart 
  • Persistent 
  • Crafty 
  • Passionate 

Aspirations to play professionally? What does your 5-10year plan look like?

Yes, I would love to play professionally for at least a year! I will be finishing my undergraduate degree next year in 2019 and would like to do my masters in medical science at the University of Toronto. Then I would like to attend Medical School here in Canada and begin my professional career. I will also be trying out for the National Team every year in hopes of putting my academic career on hold to be a member of the National Team. 

Kyla’s recap: 

You might be slightly confused where it says Libero SLASH leftside but no – that is not a typo. This is not a drill. You can imagine how surprised I was when I learned weeks after tryouts that she had never actually played libero. Clearly an extremely talented athlete, her natural abilities are tremendous and you can find her squatting more than most of us veterans in the weight room and working her butt off every single practice and training session we have. Something that I IMMENSELY value and respect. She tried out this past summer and Marcello asked her if she would like to stay on as a libero for the summer – hard yes. A very dedicated work ethic and amazing attitude on the court has this girl close to breaking our travel roster. We’ll see what this summer has in store for her! 



Position: Right side

Age: 20

Highschool: Brookfield High School

University: University of Toronto

Year: 3

Major: Health and Disease / Biology

Hometown: Ottawa

Nicknames: Lina


  • OUA East Player of the Year
  • USPORTS First Team ALl-Canadian
  • OUA East First Team All-Star
  • CIS and OUA Rookie of the Year
  • CIS Second Team All-Canadian
  • U of T Rookie of the Year

5 fun facts

  • All-time favourite athlete is Usain Bolt.
  • Favourite gelato flavours are lemon and hazelnut (if you ever find yourself in Rome go to Giolitti because it will change your life) [I can actually vouch for this. When I went to Roma by myself a few years ago… I went to this shop every. Single. Day. One time twice. And always got a triple scoop.] 
  • I speak English, French, and German (my dad immigrated to Canada from Germany in his 20's).
  • My favourite country that I've ever visited is Portugal.
  • The only superstition I have about game-day routines is that I always put my right shoe on before my left.

Tell me a little bit about your college and why you chose to go here (U of T) post-secondary:

I chose to go to the university of Toronto because I knew I wanted to stay in Canada for post-secondary but also wanted to get the experience of moving away from my home-town. U of T had everything I was looking for, with strong academics, a beautiful campus in an incredible city, outstanding athletic facilities and of course a strong volleyball program with a great group of coaches, athletes and support staff. U of T is known for being a pretty big school but there is definitely a strong sense of community whether it be within the Varsity Blues athletics family or within your own program. It is a lot of fun living here and I love the endless possibilities and opportunities that exist in a city as busy and diverse as Toronto is.

What year did you have the most success? What do you think that’s attributed to?

In my first year at U of T we went undefeated in the regular season and then won both the OUA and CIS (now USPORTS) championships. There are so many different parts that go into achieving that success but I think it comes down to the sincere belief that we had what it took to accomplish the high goals we set for ourselves, as well as the high standard we set for ourselves every single day in practice. One of the team’s “mottos” for that year was “hold the vision, trust the process” and I think our everyday actions in the gym, weight room etc. really reflected our belief in that statement 

Do you have a game day routine?

I like to spend a little more time on my breakfast on game-day, making my yogurt, granola and berries, or steel-cut oatmeal bowl look a little prettier (its just more fun that way) and then I always have an americano misto. A lot of our games fall on Fridays when we still have class so I normally go about my regular day until about 2 hours before game time which is when I head to the gym. I like to take my time getting ready, hanging out in the team room etc., until our pre-game meeting an hour and a half before the game. After that we’ll play some music, get fired up for the game and normally head up to the court at about 45 mins to game time to start my physical warm-up. 

What do you do when you’re not playing your best: 

Remind myself that volleyball is just a game. I play volleyball because I love it and the intensity of competition so I just try and focus on/enjoy that instead of worrying about previous errors. 


What you would tell your high-school self:

Just chill, don’t take yourself too seriously. (Which is still Alina's “biggest lesson you’ve learned in university thus far"). 

Player you most look up to and why: 

Heather Bansley. Heather plays beach volleyball for Team Canada and is an alum of the indoor program at U of T. She has a pretty incredible list of accomplishments including best defensive player on the beach volleyball world tour, but it is the opportunity to practice with her a couple times a year that really made her a role model for me. The commitment and focused intensity that she brings to every single practice, rally and contact is so impressive and something that I really admire. 

What was your first experience with Team Canada?

My first experience with Team Canada was with the junior national team when I was 17. We went to a USA high performance championship in Des Moines, Iowa and it was such a cool experience to get to represent Canada for the first time and play with so many girls from all across the country. It was a bit of a whirlwind experience since we were selected from our provincial teams at the National Team Challenge Cup (my first time ever playing volleyball at the Richmond Olympic Oval), trained for a couple days and then went straight to the tournament. I am still friends with many of the girls I played with on that team and a few of us have even had the chance to train and compete together again with the Senior and/or FISU teams which has been really special!

Favourite coach and why?

I have been really luck to work with a number of incredible coaches so far in my volleyball career. I have had great experiences with all of the coaches involved in my club volleyball days with the Ottawa Mavericks as well as in my years with the Team Ontario program. Currently, I am lucky enough to be coached by Kristine Drakich and Vincenzo Mallia (who happens to also be an assistant with team Canada). Kristine is an outstanding coach and person who has taught me a lot about volleyball but also a lot about life. She has really helped me develop as both a player and a person in the last few years and she is one of the most experienced and knowledgeable people I know in the world of volleyball. Vinny is also incredible, he gives the absolute best technical and tactical feedback (and also has some pretty great jokes). 

If you could describe yourself as an athlete/player in 5 words, what would they be?

  • Competitive
  • Driven
  • Passionate
  • Flexible (not so much when it comes to actual stretching)
  • Excited

Aspirations to play professionally? What does your 5-10year plan look like?

Right now I am about half-way through my undergrad degree at U of T. I just finished the first semester of my third year and am planning on taking 5 to finish my bachelor’s of science in health and disease. Once I graduate, my goal is to play professionally in Europe. I want to play volleyball for as long as I can and afterwards am interested in pursuing a Master’s degree. Career-wise, I hope to eventually end up in something related to the field of global health. 

Kyla’s recap:

I’m not sure about you – but I absolutely loved reading Alina’s answers. I met Alina this past summer after she was chosen to join our team after tryouts. She had a mean lefty swing, a hilarious giggle, and can usually be found somewhere with Anna (they both play for U of T and are quite the adorable pair). Vincenzo was our assistant coach this past summer and luckily for Alina, she get’s him all year round (he’s the bessssst). I don’t know too much about what happens in the OUA conference but I think with this girl on the right side, it’s going to be pretty hard to defeat her team. I also really appreciate the words that she chose to describe herself because you will definitely find her giggling away (excited tendencies) and lightening the mood if practices become just a bit too intense. I also feel a stronger bond to Alina now that I know she is as obsessed with Giolotti as I am… 


Alina and Anna competing for Canada in last summer's FISU Games.