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V-ball girls at open nationals

By May 18, 2022No Comments
Eve Tucker wearing No. 14 with the 16U Momentum volleyball team, is pictured blocking a shot during a seasonal game. The girls are playing at the open nationals in Edmonton from May 19-21. Supplied Photo

 

Momentum Volleyball is living up to its name with the 15U and 16U girls teams competing at the open nationals in Edmonton.

The two youth teams will play nine to 12 games during the Volleyball Canada tournament at the Edmonton Expo Centre, starting Thursday for the 15Us to May 24.

“Nationals is a great experience for our kids to play other provinces and see what the level of competition is. It’s a nice way to finish off the season,” said Avery Outreach teacher and U14 coach Cory Gratton.

Three of Momentum’s five teams, 13U, 14U, and 15U finished in the top 10 at the provincials in Saskatoon with the 15U and 16U playing in the nationals.

“Basically, this is our first season with the club and having teams compete,” said Gratton, who runs the Momentum program including a 12U team with fellow teacher Brent Teasdale.

“It’s an impressive start to the club program.”

Gratton partly attributes Momentum’s quick success to being able to run small group training and summer camps during the pandemic.

“So transitioning to club teams seemed like the next logical step,” he said.

They compete against some of the 30 to 40 club teams in the Saskatchewan Volleyball Association.

Brandi Chammartin is the coach of the Momentum 15U team and she likes her team’s chances at the nationals even though they will be tough in Division 1 play.

“I think based on what we did all year long, we were always kind of top 10 or 11 in all the tournaments we were at,” said Chammartin, who teaches in Neilberg.

The team finished second in the Watrous Sask tournament prior to the provincials April 30-May 1.

“I’m hoping we’re going to do really well based on our past performances,” she said.

The 15Us planned to squeeze in five practices before they hit the EXPO Centre courts.

“We’re primarily focusing on serve receives because that’s where we kind of struggled a bit at provincials,” explained Chammartin a few days before the nationals.

“We’ve been focusing on serve receive and blocking a lot more.”

Practise is the same pre-tournament story at the 16U camp led by College Park School teacher, Brent Hamilton.

“Because this is the end of our season, what we’re working on is polishing our team play and working on adding a little more deception,” revealed Hamilton.

“So instead of just running one attacker, running multiple attackers.”

The U16s start play on Sunday in the nationals.

Hamilton says being able to train with the U15s during COVID has made a world of difference.

“We really got to focus on individual skills last year and that’s really translated into the level of our play this year,” he said. 

“We’ve been able to take some of that individual skill level and develop that more into the complex team play, especially in the 16U play.”

Hamilton says he honestly can’t predict how well his team will do in Edmonton with it being his first time at nationals as well.

“The girls are competitive,” he conceded. 

As their coach, Hamilton says what he thrives on are those ah-ha moments when an athlete gets what you’re teaching and everything clicks in during a stressful game situation.

“I love those situations,” he said.

Chammartin says as a coach she just likes seeing the girls grow throughout the year, helping them get better.

“And I just like sport. I like the competition and helping people develop their skills,” she said as a former high school player.

Momentum is holding a summer camp at the Servus Sports Centre from Aug. 25-28 with more volleyball training programs to follow.

“We’ll be running a lot of youth development stuff in the fall for elementary school-age boys and girls,” added Gratton.

“There’s plans in the works to continually expand and get younger players involved.”