Hannah Duchesneau competes at Pan-American Volleyball Cup with Team Canada

Queens’ outside hitter speaks to ‘The Journal’ about lessons learned and experience with international play  

Duscheneau feels that attending the Pan-American Cup helped her develop focus and maturity.
Credit: 
Supplied by Hannah Duscheneau

In her first Senior National Team appearance, Duchesneau, ArtSci ’24, competed at the Pan American Volleyball Cup with Team Canada. The tournament, which began on Sept. 13 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, is a qualifying tournament for the Pan American Games occurring in 2023.

Duchesneau sat down with The Journal to discuss the experience she gained from competing at the Pan Am Cup, particularly in reference to her inaugural season with the Gaels coming this fall.

At the tournament, Duchesneau and Team Canada came away with a fourth-place finish after falling to the United States in the bronze medal match. For Duchesneau, being exposed to that level of competition was an eye-opener.

“It was really cool to see all the girls on the senior level and how they compete,” she told The Journal. “A lot of things that I saw, I’m going to try and implement it into my game now.”

“This tournament was a great opportunity for me to see how I can take my game to the next level.”

While Duchesneau learned lessons pertaining to the technical side of her game, she also spoke to some key takeaways the tournament brought forth regarding her disposition towards volleyball as a whole.

“I think mostly what I learned was maturity. In some aspects of the game at that level, you have a job, you do your job. And I think that’s something that takes a lot of focus,” she said.

“[Focus] is much-needed at that level.”

Leading up to the Pan Am Cup, Duchesneau has racked up plenty of experience competing and training with Volleyball Canada. Before committing to Queen’s in 2020, she was the captain of the Youth National Team and competed in the 2019 U18 World Championships in Egypt.

This summer, she was selected for Volleyball Canada’s Next Gen Program—a gateway to the Senior National Team—where she trained in a high-performance environment built to foster technical and tactical development. It was through this program that Duchesneau was selected to Canada’s Pan Am roster.

Referencing the team’s composition, Duchesneau commented that sending a mixed group of Next Gen and Senior National athletes was a great opportunity for the program’s development, and was especially useful considering they competed against teams with Olympic-calibre lineups such as the Dominican Republic.

“We fought hard […] the mixture with the [Senior] A and part of the Next Gen team, we were able to score against them, we were able to play with them,” she said. “I think that was really cool for the development of the program for the women’s side of the national team.”

For Duchesneau, getting her feet wet at the senior level has given her greater insight into her own future with the sport—as well as what she hopes to bring to her athletic career at Queen’s.

“I have a more realistic goal, because I’ve seen what I need to do and how I need to be in the future,” she said. “I think that’s something for sure that’s going to help me as an athlete.”

“It starts at Queens, and hopefully ends up on the national team later.”

After losing last season to the pandemic, Duchesneau is eager to get back onto the court and switch out the maple leaf for the Gaels “Q”.

“I’m excited to get back and train with the team. It’s looking like we have such a great team […] talent-wise, personality-wise, we just seem to be getting along together,” she said.

“That’s the best part, it’s coming home to a family.”

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