Ascension welcomes province
Bay Roberts school to host provincial AAAA volleyball tourney this weekend
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.”
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.”