Bac­calieu vol­ley­ballers bound for Nova Sco­tia

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cbn­com­pass.ca

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.

Sur­prises

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.

PHOTO BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER/THE COM­PASS

Noah Tuck (left) and Matthew Kelly were re­cently named to the pro­vin­cial un­der-15 male II

vol­ley­ball squad.

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