Heading into next week’s 2014 Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games in Clarenville Team Avalon’s male volleyball team is in good shape.
© Submitted photo
The Avalon male volleyball 2014 NL Winter Games team start action Mar. 5-9 at Clarenville Middle School. Members of the team are: front (l-r) — Jesse Cranford; middle — Darcy O'Reilly, Alex Green, Brady Ryan and Avery Ash; back — coach Stewart Ralph, Noah Smith, Jakob Linthorne, Cameron Coveyduck, Brandon Mertes and Nathan Pottle. Missing from photo is coach Glen Lane.
Middle (L-R): Darcy O'Reilly, Alex Green, Brady Ryan, Avery Ash
Front: Jesse Cranford
“We have a good chemistry,” said coach Stewart Ralph.
Made up of athletes from across Conception Bay North, the team has been coming together over the last few weeks in anticipation for the Games.
Ralph said there is still some “fine-tuning and developing” to do before the team takes the court at Clarenville Middle School Mar. 5-9.
“They’re continually working on the aspects of their game,” said the coach.
Since qualifying for the Games late last year, the team has been incorporating new offensive sets into its game plan.
This means throwing different looks at opponents and avoiding falling into patterns.
“Our setters are changing how they’re setting,” said Ralph. “Our passing is consistent right now. If our passing is consistent, we’re looking at varying our offense with different plays.”
This will challenge their opponents blocking schemes and hopefully punch holes in the defense.
“That’s exciting for Grade 10s to be learning,” said Ralph.
Much of the team play for the Ascension Collegiate Astros in Bay Roberts and confidence is high heading into the high-profile tournament.
The team has played well in the past against many of the teams who will be at the Games.
But, Ralph said it would be important to maintain a level head and not ride too high.
“At this age level, you could have a good match to get you through and you could have one bad match that pushes you back too,” he said.
The Avalon reps had to play teams from Roncalli High in Avondale and Holy Spirit High in Manuels to punch their ticket to the Games.
The team went undefeated in the qualifier on Dec. 16.
“I was very impressed with their composure,” said Ralph. “When they got close, they kept an even keel.”
The team defeated Roncalli in the championship.
“It was a good confidence builder,” said Ralph.
Savouring the experience
The Games brings together the best athletes this province has to offer. It is a big event for everyone involved.
From the opening ceremonies to the closing ceremonies, the Games are like nothing else this province has to offer.
It is important for athletes to go into the event with the intention of taking in everything the Games has to offer.
“It’s going to be a different experience and something to reflect on,” said Ralph.