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March 1, 2005

All-star Cundy siblings help lead the way for volleyball Bears and Pandas

From:, Canada - Mar 1, 2005

Andrew Renfree

Siblings and U of A volleyball players Larissa and Nicholas Cundy get along fairly well these days—but it wasn't always that way. When the pair were five and six years old, an argument over a castle Nicholas was building escalated to the point where he threw a wooden block at his sister.

"It was the only time I've ever had stitches, because he threw a block at me," notes Larissa.

The Cundys are quite pleasant to each other now, though, and actually share quite a bit in common. The similarities are easy to spot: both wear the number one on their jerseys, both are leaders on the court, and both are highly competitive. A quick glance at the game-day program will reveal that Nicholas and Larissa both graduated from Harry Ainlay High School, and that both are enrolled in the faculty of arts at the U of A. And if a person were to hang around after the game, they might notice the Cundys using sign language to communicate with their parents, both of whom are deaf.

"It's normal because that's what we grew up with; we didn't experience anything else," says Larissa. "We were signing before we were talking."

"There's not much difference," adds Nicholas when comparing his parents to other families. "It's just that you don't talk to them on the phone, and there's the captioning on the TV all the time."

In addition to teaching Larissa and Nicholas to sign and read people's body language, their father got them involved in volleyball at a young age, and both siblings credit their parents for sparking their competitive nature on the court.

"We get [our passion to compete] from our parents; our parents were competitive athletes," says Larissa.

"Dad just got us out early, playing around," Nicholas adds. "Before we were on any school teams he had us out in the backyard just playing around."

Playing around the backyard with their father is perhaps one of the reasons that the Cundys are two of the best university volleyball players in the country. Nicholas was named Canada West player of the year for the 2004/05 season, finishing fourth in the country in service aces per game (0.33), sixth in points per game (3.83) and seventh in kills per game (3.19) leading the Bears in kills for most of the season. He plans to play professionally in Europe post-graduation and has aspirations to suit up for team Canada at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Larissa is also dominant on the court; she led the Pandas in assists per game this season and was named a first-team all-star. She hopes to get involved with coaching volleyball as a career at the university level, or even in a high school, when she leaves the U of A after this season.

It would be tough to dispute that the Cundys are excellent volleyball players, but Nicholas and Larissa do debate which of them is better on the court.

"He is," says Larissa.

"No, I would say she is," responds Nicholas.

Eventually, they agreed that it's hard to compare their positions and that they are both very competitive on the court. Luckily, this time no blocks were thrown.

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