Leaving it on the floor
Shauna Burton takes Ascension’s motto to heart
The Ascension Collegiate senior female volleyball team has a simple motto its players follow religiously.
It goes a little something like this — before the ball hits the floor, your body hits the floor. It’s a mantra that keeps players focused on leaving everything between the lines of the volleyball court.
It’s also a mantra team captain Shauna Burton takes to heart every time she steps on the floor.
Watching her play, it’s not hard to see the 17-year-old Bay Roberts resident wears it on her sleeve when she mans the middle position for her club. It’s in the way she tirelessly works on both sides of the ball and in the way she leads her team.
“It’s what we tell ourselves before every game,” she said.
In a game recently, Burton was presented with a chance to live the mantra in real time. Having been fooled by a play at the net, she was caught on the wrong side as the opposing player knocked the ball into the centre of the court and away from her.
Leaving her feet and going parallel to the gymnasium floor, she saved the ball and managed to secure a point when it hit the floor.
“I knew I had to get to that ball,” said Burton. “We even managed to get a point out of it.”
It’s this desire to put everything she has into the sport that has helped her through almost a decade in the sport.
As Burton speaks with The Compass, she is nearing the twilight of her high school career. At this level, volleyball has a quick turnaround.
The provincial tournaments are finished in the first weeks of December. Sure, there are club championships in the spring, but they aren’t the same as the AAAA tournament.
“I’m sure there will be some crying and hugs,” said Burton, reflecting on what the end means. “The team has come a long way. Everyone is really good with each other.”
This season, unlike in the past, Ascension doesn’t get to waltz into the provincial tournament not having played a regional qualifier. Blaketown’s Crescent Collegiate stands between them and the tournament.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge,” she said. “I think we’re going to do well with it.” Loving it from the start What began as just trying the sport because her friends were playing it has blossomed into an eternal love for the game.
“It was a thing in Grade 7 that all the girls tried out for the team,” said Burton.
A natural athlete, she took to the sport right away. Her then coach, Carolyn Lye, slotted her in the middle position from the start partly due to her tall, slender frame — Burton stands fivefeet-10-inches now.
Since her time at Amalgamated Academy in Bay Roberts, her love for the sport has only blossomed further.
“I’ve loved every minute of it,” said Burton. “There has never been a time when I have not loved the sport. I remember thinking this is so cool.” The quarterback Manning the middle on the court is like being in the middle of a football huddle. There are instructions to relay to teammates and plays to make on both sides of the ball.
Burton is responsible for being a coach on the floor. She spots different kinds of serves on defence, and plays decoy on the offensive end.
“I like stuffing the ball at the net,” said Burton. “My offensive and defensive games are pretty much the same.”
As the sun begins to set on the final days of Burton’s high school career, her last year with the team is bringing things full circle for the young athlete.
Her first coach becomes her last coach and things just seem right.
“It is pretty fitting to finish my high school career with Carolyn,” said Burton.
Ascension Collegiate volleyball athlete Shauna Burton mans the middle for the senior female team.