Cyr Is Constant Presence for Wolfpack Volleyball
Sept. 21, 2012
ACC-Leading Pack Volleyball Hosts Duke on Friday
RALEIGH, N.C. - Megan Cyr is all set, all the time.
The senior from St. Andrews, Manitoba, joined the Wolfpack volleyball program three years ago has been on the court for every moment of head coach Bryan Bunn's tenure with the Wolfpack.
So far since transferring from Colorado, Cyr has participated in all 12,248 points, 282 sets and 78 matches in her two-and-a-half seasons on the squad. During that time, Bunn has molded his three recruiting classes to transform the program from a perennial ACC cellar-dweller to the top of the standings. Heading into today's 7 p.m. match against Duke, the Wolfpack owns a 12-1 overall record and a 2-0 ACC mark.
"I don't really think of it as being difficult," Cyr said of her perma-participation. "I just think that is my job and I have accepted that. I've never looked it like this is ... super hard.
"I'm comfortable being in every point. It's what I've always done."
Two years ago, in Bunn's first season, the Wolfpack won 14 matches, the most since 1999. Last year, while going 20-13 overall, the Pack set a school record with eight ACC victories and had its first winning season since 1996. This year's 12-1 start matches the fourth-best opening to a season in school history and is only the second time since 1988 that the Pack has won its first two ACC matches.
Cyr - a steady, hardy setter from the Canadian prairie - has been a big contributor to that turnaround, setting passes for the likes of All-ACC selection Margaret Salata last season and a bevy of frontline options this year: junior middle blockers Brie Merriwether and Meredith Richardson and sophomore outside hitters Dariyan Hopper, Nikki Glass and Rachel Buckley.
It's not unusual for Bunn to pick a talented setter like Cyr and stick with her. At a previous stop at North Florida a few years back, Bunn's top player was two-time All-American Valerie Martinez, who played every point of every set of every match during her four-year career.
"I believe in setters staying in," Bunn said. "That's not unusual for me. Valerie played almost 500 sets and never came out."
Bunn did recruit Cyr's likely replacement last fall, freshman Kaitlyn LaMantia of Chantilly, Va., but she has yet to play this season. That's okay, he says. Cyr is more than ready to handle her marathon duties.
"Megan is durable and tough," Bunn said. "She has played with broken fingers and sprained ankles. She never lets us know when she is hurt. She's a super competitor.
Bunn, while serving as an associate head coach at Baylor, first noticed Cyr's abilities when she was a high school player at Lord Selkirk High School in St. Andrews. He recruited her to play for the Bears, but Cyr instead decided commit to Colorado, where she sat out one season as a redshirt and made 10 starts as a redshirt freshman, compiling 211 assists, 20 kills and 64 digs.
When Bunn was named head coach at NC State, he hired former Colorado assistant Stevie Mussie shortly after the Buffalo coaching staff was replaced. They began looking for recruits and Mussie called outside hitter Becah Fogle to see if she might be interested in visiting Raleigh.
"Ooooh, see if they need a setter!" Cyr asked when she overheard the phone call.
At the time, Bunn was all set. A week later, however, the Wolfpack called Cyr back and wanted to know if she was still interested. She was on the next flight to Raleigh. She and Fogle were both part of Bunn's first recruiting class.
"This is the place I wanted to come to because they wanted me and they believed in me," Cyr said. "I really weighed the pros and cons and I really thought the most important thing for me was to have a coaching staff that really believed in me and wanted me to play.
"It's worked out really well."
In her first season, Cyr had 1,133 assists, the most by any Wolfpack setter since 2000. Last season, she had 1,293, moving her into the top 10 for career assists. With 484 assists this season, Cyr now ranks fourth all-time on the school's career assists list and needs only 47 more to overtake Erin Vesey (1998-99) for third place.
She's also been effective part of the Wolfpack's offensive attack. Her .375 attack average ranks second all-time, and she's slowing creeping up on Lori Zuersher's record of .378, which was set from 1981-84.
Cyr appreciates that she has made an impact, but she's much more pleased that the program has been successful. That's what she wanted to be a part of when she decided to come south to play American college volleyball.
Cyr grew up watching her older brother Aaron playing volleyball in Canada. He's now on his third Canadian college, completing his five years of eligibility, while finishing off his teaching degree. He is also a setter, which is what inspired Megan to tryout for that position when she started playing volleyball in the fifth grade.
She was good enough during her high school career to qualify for both the Canada youth national team in 2006 and the junior national team in 2008.
Over the summer, Cyr went home to Manitoba, Canada, and earned a spot to train with the Canadian national team in Winnipeg. She made the final cut of 32 players who were selected for the pool to choose Team Canada's entries for the 2012 Pan Am Cup in August and the 2013 World University Games in Moscow. She will rejoin the national team next spring, after she completes her senior season and after she graduates with a degree in communication, with a minor in journalism.
Cyr hopes that will lead to even more opportunities to play for the national team in coming years.
"I would like to help the national team qualify for the  Rio Olympics," Cyr said. "That's a huge goal I've set for myself. From the last meeting I had with the national team coach, he said they would keep three to four setters and he sees me as being one of those.
"As long as I keep working hard and stay healthy, I think that's attainable. The whole experience left me feeling very confident."
Bunn can see the effects of Cyr's summer training on the team this fall. Cyr has become a stronger leader on and off the court.
"I think what she has taken from that experience is that she is always competing," Bunn said. "When you are in that environment, everybody is locked in all the time. People are there with the chance to play for the national team and to get to the Olympics.
"That kind of daily competition pays off."
Her input certainly paid off last week, when the Wolfpack was looking down the wrong end of match point against UNC Wilmington at Reynolds Coliseum. The Wolfpack played lackadaisical early in the match and lost the first two sets. The Seahawks owned a 24-20 lead in the third set and the Wolfpack faced losing its second home match of the season.
"In times of adversity, that's when you need leaders to be confident on the court," Cyr said. "I remember when we were down, 24-20, I told them, `The match is not over, keep playing. Don't give up.'
"We were all really frustrated, because we knew we shouldn't be in that situation."
Cyr says the team is confident and ready for the challenge of the ACC season.
"I think we need to grow as a team, starting in practice,' Cyr said. "We really need to focus on having good practices, because that will translate to the games. We have a deeper team this year and we have a lot of people who can help us win."
Though this is her last season, Cyr is interested to see how Wolfpack volleyball will continue to grow. She's proud of the quick turnaround the program has made in her three seasons here, but it hasn't been as easy as she had hoped.
"It's a lot harder than I expected," she said. "It's not something that just happens in a year or two, changing the culture and not always being the underdogs anymore. That's going to take a while.
"I definitely want to leave the program knowing it's on the way up. I think that will happen."
Cyr has other long-range plans, as well, including playing professionally overseas and returning to school to pursue a graduate degree.
For now, however, she's focused on playing the next point, the next set and the next match.
"It's nice to know the coaching staff has confidence in me and believes I can contribute to the team," she said.