As outside hitter Sienna Driedger went up for the kill that would go down in Steinbach Sabres history, she says she felt the pressure but was fired up all at once.  

Earlier this month, the SRSS Sabres captured their first Provincial AAAA Girls Varsity Girls Volleyball Championship in school history. They knocked off the Lord Selkirk Royals in five sets. 

Captain Driedger says the moment they were named champions felt surreal.  

"[I] just kind of stood and soaked it in for a second,” Driedger says. “And I remember even just tearing up a little bit because it didn't feel real.” 

SRSS Varsity Girls Volleyball team with the Provincial Championship banner.Driedger (back row, seventh from the left) and the SRSS Varsity Girls Volleyball team with the Provincial Championship banner. (Paul Reimer)

While she earned the championship point for the team, she says a provincial title would not be possible without her teammates.  

“Every single person, whether they were on the floor or on the bench, contributed to that in such a huge way,” she says. 

The 17-year-old's performance throughout the provincial tournament earned her MVP honours. She was also named to the Grad All-Star AAAA Girls All Manitoba Team alongside teammate Isabelle Voth and received the Mike Burchuk Female MVP award. According to Volleyball Manitoba, the award is given to the athlete who best exemplifies commitment, ability and leadership during the high school season.  

The feeling of being a provincial champion isn’t a first for the Grunthal native. In 2021, she helped the Sabres win the Provincial AAAA Girls Junior Varsity Volleyball Championship and was named MVP. 

Despite all the awards she’s received, she says the recognition should go beyond her.  

“As much as my name is on the award, it always just feels like it's bigger than that for me because it wouldn't be possible without everybody else. Volleyball is a team sport. You need your coaches, you need your family supporting you," she says. 

Sienna Driedger with the Mike Burchuk MVP award.Driedger (left) with the Mike Burchuk MVP award. (Volleyball Manitoba)

While her high school volleyball career is over, Driedger isn’t done with volleyball.  

The grade 12 student is committed to play volleyball for Trinity Western University in B.C. next school year. Another Sabre alumni—Steinbach's Eric Loeppky—has taken a similar route playing volleyball for the Spartans.  

Driedger says when Loeppky’s father, Greg Loeppky, taught at the SRSS last year, they talked a lot about Eric and his Spartan adventure. 

“He's so accomplished in his volleyball, but also just the way he carries himself and everything like that. I really look up to him,” she says. 

She says the university has always been a dream school for her.  

“I went and visited their campus like early January of this year and instantly kind of fell in love with the campus,” she says. “The coaches were amazing there. The team is just super heartwarming. Being out there, even though it was however many provinces over, it felt like home kind of right away.” 

Driedger says that during her provincial championship matchup, the Spartans had the game on their laptop during practice and were cheering the Sabres on from British Columbia.  

She says their volleyball program is high-level, which played a role in her decision. According to U Sports, they were the U Sports Volleyball Champions in 2022 and currently sit on the number one ranking spot this season. 

Before heading to university, Driedger will lace up for 204 Volleyball Club. She says they used to be an all-boys club, but that’s changing this year as they’re making an 18-year female team.  

She says she hopes to tune up some skills going into university volleyball.  

“I know that I need to work hard obviously in the gym and my academics, everything like that, and set good habits before being out there. My goal is to kind of try and hit the ground running,” she says. 

Driedger says throughout her high school career, she has realized how valuable volleyball is. The recent accident involving Thompson Rivers University volleyball players comes to her mind and hits close to home.  

“The Lord has continuously reminded me what a gift it is to play,” she says. “Taking everything as it comes, playing free and enjoying it counts for so much. And just loving the people around you, playing hard all the time because you never know what game could be your last.” 


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