MC Ozorak, 21, a fourth-year Algonquin Thunder women's volleyball player. Photo credit: Camryn Majuary

Marie-Chantal (MC) Ozorak, 21, a much-admired defender on the Algonquin Thunder women’s volleyball team, has ended her four-year run as a varsity player.

The second-year social service student will complete her program this spring – she graduated from the police foundations two years ago – and is moving on from the college

Originally from Saint-Pascal-Baylon, Ont., Ozorak has played volleyball since grade seven, amounting to 10 years of playing the sport. “I loved playing,” Ozorak said. “And when it came to college, I thought I’d try out and see if I could make the varsity team here. There’s nothing wrong with trying right?”

She didn’t know at the time what the experience would mean to her.

“It was really life-changing,” Ozorak said.”Those are the words I would use to describe the last four years on the team, ‘life-changing.’ I was surprised when I made it on the team in my freshman year, but I was excited.”

Ozorak tried out every year she was at Algonquin and made it on the varsity team each time. And each time she was happy she was a part of the team.

Ozorak was admired on and off the court by her teammates and had an impact on everyone she played with. “MC is very competitive and motivative,” said Inge Hoogenboom, 18, an advanced pre-health student and a women’s volleyball team player. “She liked to have fun but also knows when to take things seriously. I always admired how fast she is on the court. She’s a great role model.”

Ozorak’s coach agrees.

“She is an excellent passer and one of the best defenders we have ever had on the women’s team,” said Everton Senior, the women’s volleyball coach. “MC is like a daughter to me. I have really gotten to know and admire her over her four years and I will truly miss her.”

While on the court, Ozorak met some lifelong friends.

“MC and I have been on the volleyball team since our rookie year,” said Rylee Leger, 22, an early learning and community development student. “We have learned to grow together both on and off the court and, in the meantime, have built an extremely close friendship.”

“MC is a firecracker; her true colors truly show as soon as she hits the court,” Leger said. “Every practice and every game she is ready to compete to her best abilities and brings a special energy to the team. Her intensity and love for the sport has benefited everyone on and off the court, she is someone our rookies have always looked up to.”

When Ozorak first started playing for the Algonquin Thunder, she struggled to try to juggle school and volleyball but eventually got the hang of it. Ozorak also had a part-time job working with Algonquin. She coached intramurals and worked at the front desk in the gym, which are jobs that are usually reserved for athletes at the college.

Ozorak knows she will be bored when September rolls around that she isn’t playing but thinks a break is good. She thinks it’s time to figure life out and figure out where she will be going from here.

“It’s bittersweet, but eventually you have to move on and you can’t always be athletes and students,” Ozorak said. “I’m definitely going to miss my girls and playing with them.”