They’re “the little team from the northwest” – both in terms of height, and the number of players on the team.
There are only nine girls on the club volleyball team, with just a third of the players close to 6 feet tall – in the Lower Mainland, 6 feet is the average for most teams.
But despite their size, this year the team ranked in the Tier 1 division, the elite division for 16-year-old girls, and just wrapped up their season at the Abbotsford Tradex, placing 14th in the province in their division.
“Fourteenth may not sound great,” said coach Carmen Didier, who co-coaches with Steve Kitchen and Matt Veikle. “But it truly is. There were only two teams outside of the Lower Mainland that made Tier 1 and the Terrace Stingers were one of them.”
“These girls were playing head-to-head against the best 16U volleyball players and teams in the province and being competitive,” she said.
The club season started in January, with the team working on skill development for eight weeks before starting team strategy and the competition schedule.
The first weekend in March the team travelled to Prince George and placed second. Over spring break, the girls travelled to Nanaimo and placed sixth at a BC Volleyball Association (BCVA) super series tournament.
And right after returning from Nanaimo, the girls held a number of fundraisers to help cover some of the huge travel costs—these included a bottle drive, Bert’s Deli canteen work, Totem Ford cleanup, and a pakora sale.
The very next week, the team was back on the court, training with Jesse Knight from Abstract Volleyball. Knight is a high performance coach who pushed the team to work on and aim its training at higher level skills.
The following weekend, the girls competed and placed 10th in a Vancouver super series tournament before travelling to Kamloops at the end of April, where they placed second at the Thompson River University tournament. The provincial tournament followed this weekend.
“Fourteenth in the elite Tier 1 division for a northwest team is a fantastic finish,” said Didier. “For many of these girls, this is only one notch on their belts to a big future they will have in the sport of volleyball.”
Next on the list for some of the girls is the Baden Cup tryouts this upcoming weekend. The tryouts are being held in Smithers this year—a first for the northwest.
And with the girls continuing to place well in BCVA competitions, the northwest can expect to hear more and more about club volleyball in the future years.
Terrace now has three club teams including the 16U girls, 15U girls and the 14U girls and there are plans to develop this further next year.