by ACAC Sports Writer Curtis J. Phillips
The accolades are like a waterfall.
2014-2015 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Women's Volleyball Player of the Year.
2016-2017 Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Women's Athlete of the Year.
A three-time CCAA All Canadian selection (2014-2017), three-time Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) All Conference acceptance and three-time ACAC Women's Volleyball Player of the Year.
Four consecutive trips to the ACAC postseason with an ACAC Gold in 2015-2016 beating The Kings University Eagles.
A trip to the 2015-2016 CCAA Women's Volleyball National Championships held in Prince Edward Island, finishing fourth, losing to Humber College Hawks in the bronze medal game.
As of Saturday evening, she has also flown sky high to become the ACAC All Time leader in service aces and kills for women's volleyball.
Say hello to Briercrest College superstar Samantha Zacharias.
With an amazing 17 kills this past Friday against the host Lethbridge College Kodiaks, Zacharias's kill total was 1,336, surpassing SAIT Trojans' Megan Brennan, who had accumulated 1,328 kills in 407 sets played from 2012-2017.
She would add 11 more kills Saturday to bring her total to 1,347, with two remaining games left in the 2017-2018 season with a home stand against the visiting Ambrose University Lions February 16-17, 2018.
She continues to add to her service ace totals with an impressive 345, which is more than double that of current second place Medicine Hat Rattlers' Tonya Revering (1989-1993) a distant second at 169 according to ACAC archives.
The 5-foot-9 outside hitter from Waldheim, Saskatchewan still has two games remaining to round out her five-year stint (Business Administration) in Caronport, Saskatchewan.
During her tenure at Briercrest the team has won 93 matches and only lost 21.
Of her kills record Zacharias says: "It is pretty special. I am so thankful that I get to do what I love every single day. It is a statement to my team and the hard work they put in and God has blessed me.
"I have had the best team and coaches that I could ask for. Especially my sister (setter Ashley Zacharias, third-year, Business Administration). The setter sometimes gets overlooked for what they do and it is pretty easy to put balls away when you have her and other good setters to play with. They and the rest of the team, deserve most of the credit."
Ashley has 2,262 assists to date which may put her at No. 1 in ACAC career assists ahead of Lakeland College Rustlers' Rae Sigurdson at 2,189 when the ACAC Archives are updated.
Of her service aces record, which now seems unbreakable, "I am a spin server and the toss is the biggest factor in it. After the toss it is confidence and the mind-set to go after it."
Of the quest for CCAA gold, Zacharias concludes: "I hope it is the year. This year is definitely the best chance we have to get it. Our team is full of talent and we have such a good team and we learn and grow together every weekend. We hope to peak around (ACAC) playoffs and then (CCAA) nationals."
With a current record of 21 matches won 1 match lost and 63 sets won and 16 sets lost, Briercrest is ranked No. 5 in the CCAA pools and has qualified for the 2017-2018 ACAC Women's Volleyball Championships to be held in Camrose, Albert and hosted by the University of Alberta-Augustana Vikings February 22-24, 2018.
The annals of ACAC men's volleyball will also find a new leader in kills as Keyano Huskies' Blazej Pellowski has amassed 1,097 kills since enrolling at Fort McMurray institution in the fall of 2013.
That number surpasses Scott Lesher's (Briercrest Clippers/SAIT Trojans 2008-2013) career total of 1,065 to become the No. 1 kills leader.
A 6-foot-4 right side hitter from Wroclaw, Poland, Pellowski also has two regular season games remaining to add to his totals.
"Honestly, it (record) means I just put the hard work into it. I don't feel that I put in anything spectacular and there are players in the league better than me. Every year I added new skills and it turned into an ACAC record, It was not like 1,000 kills in one game...it was consistency."
With 155 service aces, he is second in ACAC history behind former Keyano Husky Alwyn Piche (2006-2009 2012-2013) who had 176.
"I put a lot of effort into my service and I worked on it every year. Every time, being at the service line, you have to make sure that you are not hurting your team.".
Like Zacharias, Pellowski has countless accolades.