Baccalieu volleyballers bound for Nova Scotia
Old Perlican’s Matthew Kelly and New Chelsea’s Noah Tuck were named to the province’s under-15 male II volleyball team late last month. As a result, the pair will spend the next week or so training in St. John’s and Wolfville, N.S., in advance of the Eastern Elite Championships, which are set for the Canada Games Centre in Halifax from July 24-26.
In the sport of volleyball, height can be a virtue.
That’s something Old Perlican’s Matthew Kelly and New Chelsea’s Noah Tuck have in spades.
Kelly stands six-feet-two inches, while Tuck comes in an inch shorter at six-feet-one-inches. With their long limbs and athletic ability – Kelly can reach as high as 10-feet with his vertical leap — the pair are primed to be big players at the provincial level for years to come.
Their ability to play above the rim helps them in many facets of the game. From blocking to spiking, they have an inherent advantage over shorter players.
Their play appears to have struck a chord with coaches, as they were named to the roster for the under-15 male team II late last month and spent the weekend training and challenging themselves against the best players their sport has to offer in Atlantic Canada.
They weren’t the only athletes from the region to find their names on rosters. Shearstown’s Nick Deering was named to the under-15 male 1 team, while Cameron Coveyduck made the under-17 squad.
With their selection, Kelly and Tuck are headed to the Eastern Elite Championships being held at the Canada Games Centre in Halifax, N.S., July 24-26.
They were set to spend a week training for the competition in Newfoundland before heading to Acadia University in Wolfville for more preparation work.
“I was hoping (to make the team),” said Kelly, who plays the middle position. “You go in there and try your hardest. “
As a middle, he is responsible for keeping the defence off balance on the offensive end, while being a key part of his team’s own defence as well.
On the other hand, Tuck is powerful and normally occupies the left hand side of the court. Using his superb leaping ability, he relentlessly attacks the opposition.
“The key is going cross court or down the line,” said Tuck.
For the pair of Grade 10 players, tryouts for the provincial squad were a new expe- rience, and as such, there were a couple of surprises for them. One surprise was the intensity at which the coaches ran players through drills and scrimmages.
“It was very intense but I loved it,” said Kelly. “The drills were well thought out, but (the intensity) was surprising.”
Tuck called the camp a “good experience” for developing his game and mental acuity. “You knew you couldn’t give up,” he said. “There were good drills and good coaches teaching you.” The experience With this being their first time making a provincial team roster, the excursion to Wolfville, N.S, will be a first for Kelly and Tuck.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Kelly. “It’ll be a completely new experience.”
“I’m looking forward to meeting new friends and improving my skills,” added Tuck. “It’ll be good to get up there and see new things.”
When athletes head to national competitions with provincial teams, they’ll often come back as different players. Just being exposed to that level of competition can help them improve their games ten-fold once they come back to their home club.
Things like defence and serving could be two skills high on a player’s improvement list. For Kelly and Tuck, they’re concentrating on improving their school team.
“Anything we can do to make our Baccalieu team stronger,” said Kelly.
Noah Tuck (left) and Matthew Kelly were recently named to the provincial under-15 male II