It was a year of firsts for the U14 Northern Fusion girls’ volleyball team – their first year as a team, their coaches first year coaching, and their first provincial medal, bronze.
The team came together after the Skeena Grade 8 team’s success in the school league – coaches Kam Seimens and Shelly Haynes-Marrelli felt the team, who won gold at zones, was just getting started. They put the word out that they were interested in taking the team to the next level as a travelling team. And the girls were interested too, with a team of 10, including two Grade 7s and one player from Prince Rupert, emerging from a series of tryouts. The team practiced at least three times a week at Veritas, and after games against the Smithers U15 girls team and a trip to the Prince George Invitational (where they lost more than they won, but also faced off against, and beat the Terrace U15 team in a thrilling game), the girls flew to Abbotsford for provincials April 26 and 27.
This first year was all about building confidence. The game against Terrace was especially important, with the team realizing they had the skills to win.
And once at provincials, the team breathed a little easier realizing that they were up against other teams their age in Div 4, not the older teams they’d been up against closer to home.
But this didn’t mean they could relax, explained Siemens.
The lower mainland teams have a huge pool to choose from, so even though they were the same age, the level of play was still very high and the team would have to bring their best – and they did, winning bronze in a redeeming final game against a Langley team they had lost against earlier in the tournament.
And Terrace was the only team from the northwest besides Prince George to attend the tournament, with many teams questioning why they’d travel so far.
“Why not?,” answered Siemens. The team wouldn’t learn or grow without experiencing volleyball down south, and team members have a high level of potential.
In fact, there are high hopes for this team, which, combined with the older Terrace girls’ team, are now going to make up a club to foster an elite level of volleyball players based here in Terrace.
Northern Fusion plans to practise every Sunday while they still have the gym, before moving to a weekly gym workout to keep conditioning up during the off months. There is also a camp planned for July, and the teams will be fundraising quite a bit in order to pay for next year’s tournaments.