CORNER BROOK Coach Nathan Wareham has had talented teams under his wing before, but this year's edition of the Corner Brook Titans female volleyball team was a special group of girls.
The Titans got the nod as the 2011 Newfoundland and Labrador Volleyball Association's female volleyball team of the year at an awards banquet held recently in Grand Falls-Windsor, while Wareham picked up the coach of the year award for his leading the Titans to an incredible season on the volleyball court.
"This group of girls took it to a next level," Wareham said Monday. "They weren't afraid to make mistakes. Their goal was to medal at nationals this year and sacrificing wins and losses to do that was a big thing. Everybody wants to win, but when you try and learn a new system and new skills you have to sacrifice something and they were able to do that with a commitment to the fitness training."
Members of the 2011 Titans volleyball female team of the year include team captain Alicia Power and Danielle Walsh, both of whom were finalists for the senior high female player of the year award that went to Jill Snow of the Leo Burke Academy Lightning volleyball team. Snow was an import for the Titans at the provincial 18U championship. The roster also included Nicole Boone, Jenna Parsons, Kelsey Furey, Victoria Pinksen, Shelena Benoit, Olivia Rogers, Maddi Hulan, Olivia Barnable, Ashley Companion, Ashley Feltham, Robyn Pike, Leah Forward, Jessica Pelley, Felicia Park and Alex Porter.
Silver at Canadian Open
The volleyball season was highlighted by a silver-medal performance in Division 2 Tier 1 at the 2012 Canadian Open Volleyball Championships in Toronto, a record-setting fourth-straight 4A female high school volleyball crown, gold medal at provincial club championships and a silver medal at the provincial 18 U female volleyball tournament.
He believes the silver-medal performance at provincial 18U was a key moment in the season because it marked the first time the Titans had lost in a provincial final in four years.
"That was a big learning curve for us," he said. "So, even though it was silver it was probably the best thing that ever happened to us because we're so used to being very competitive and to not win that tournament was kind of a wake-up call."
Looking at wins and losses on the year, Wareham believes his squad had a tough year as they tried to adjust to changes he implemented in an effort to make the team competitive on the national stage. It obviously worked because the girls won a silver medal in a tournament boasting the best high school teams in Canada.
"To win it this year, I just think it was good for the girls to do because they worked so hard," he said. "They've been getting up three mornings a week lifting weights, just training their butts off so that they can compete with the best in Canada and they did. I think it's very gratifying ...it's the first time in four years this team has won this award."
Wareham appreciates getting recognized for his award, but insisted that it's always been about the team.
"It's always good to get recognized for your accomplishment to the team, but I'm a firm believer in team accomplishments not individual awards, so Team of the Year was a big one for us," Wareham said.