As­cen­sion wel­comes province

Bay Roberts school to host pro­vin­cial AAAA vol­ley­ball tour­ney this week­end

The Compass - - ORTHTE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER THE COM­PASS

The sound of vol­ley­balls bounces around the gym­na­sium at As­cen­sion Col­le­giate in Bay Roberts on Nov. 22.

There is a net sep­a­rat­ing one part of the gym from the other and mem­bers of the As­cen­sion Col­le­giate girls’ vol­ley­ball team are serv­ing vol­ley­balls from one side to the other.

Coaches Glen Lane and Carolyn Lye watch from the side­lines, giv­ing the girls sage ad­vice on the finer points of the game. Tonight’s prac­tice is a big one. It’s a weeks from the AAAA pro­vin­cial cham­pi­onship tour­na­ment and the fe­male Astros are pre­par­ing to host some of the best teams in New­found­land and Labrador.

From Nov. 30 to Dec. 1, teams from Stephenville High, Bish­ops High in St. John’s, Ex­ploits Val­ley High in Grand Falls-Wind­sor, Holy Heart High in St. John’s, Mount Pearl Se­nior High, Queen Elizabeth High in Fox­trap, Cor­ner Brook High, Holy Spirit High in Con­cep­tion Bay South and Clarenville High will com­pete.

“We’re ex­cited,” said coach Carolyn Lye.

It’s not only Lye that is ex­cited for the team to play on the grand­est stage in high school sports in front of their home fans. The play­ers are, too.

“I like it when we’re home be­cause we have our home crowd with us and cheer­ing us on,” said se­nior Holly Bartlett.

Team­mate Kris­ten Downey sees the ad­van­tages of play­ing at home.

“It’ll really help,” she said. “For our game to be on, we need to be into it and ev­ery­body en­thu­si­as­tic.”

The girls played ex­cel­lent. It was the best I’d seen them play all year. Hopefully, we’re go­ing to keep in­creas­ing the per­for­mance level in this

tour­na­ment. — Coach Carolyn Lye

Peak­ing at right time

Lye said her team is play­ing its best ball at the right time.

The Astros, who are com­prised of four se­niors, seven sopho­mores and one fresh­man, walked through the con­tin­gent from Cres­cent Col­le­giate in Blake­town at the re­gional play­downs two weeks ago, de­feat­ing the Coy­otes in straight sets.

Most re­cently, the team com­peted in a ladies’ tour­na­ment and played at a high level.

“The girls played ex­cel­lent,” said Lye. “It was the best I’d seen them play all year. Hopefully, we’re go­ing to keep in­creas­ing the per­for­mance level in this tour­na­ment.”

Ex­pe­ri­ence key

Most of the ath­letes on the team have been play­ing vol­ley­ball to­gether for some time. The Level II play­ers have been on the court since Grade 7, while the Level IIIs have spent a num­ber of years in the gym to­gether.

“The fact that we have a cou­ple of play­ers who played provin­cially will help, too,” said Lye.

Of­fense is a strength for the veteran squad.

“We’ve got a cou­ple of girls who can really put the ball away,” said Lye.

For Bartlett and Downey, the tour­na­ment marks the end their high school vol­ley­ball ca­reer.

“It’s a good end to our Level III year,” said Downey. “It’s ex­cit­ing to have the tour­na­ment at home and have all of the teams come here for a change.”

nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

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