By Jamie Bennett
Star Staff Writer
CORNER BROOK After a summer spent working rather than playing the sport she loves, Brittany Costello is as eager to get on the court as anyone when the Grenfell Campus, Memorial University Women’s Volleyball League hold’s its annual tip-off tournament this weekend.
The 19-year-old second year student at Grenfell has been playing volleyball since her days as Presentation Junior High School. A veteran of Team Newfoundland in Grades 9, 10 and 11, Costello also played at the 4A level while a student at Corner Brook Regional High. She’s also coached the Grade 8 girls team at Presentation since she was in Level One.
But as someone who’s used to playing volleyball year-round, Costello admits she has some rust to shake off this weekend.
“This is the first summer in I don’t know how long that I haven’t played a bit of volleyball,” Costello said Thursday. “This weekend is definitely going to be a lot of team building, people getting used to each other. But we did win last year, so hopefully we’ll get the same results.”
Team building will indeed be the focus for a squad which is returning just three players — Costello included— from a team which won the tourney last year and competed at the Over-19 provincials last season. Costello said having new faces from year-to-year is nothing new, and she’s excited about the additions this season.
“Everyone else is moved on to St. John’s and everything but we’ve got a lot of good first-years moving up,” she said. “So I’m pretty excited to play with some of the girls I played with all the way up.”
A first-year player herself just a year ago, the Corner Brook native has enjoyed the chance to play competitive ball in the Grenfell league but admits the focus for her and her crew will be on provincials, an event which was an eye-opener for her last year.
“We played in the A Division, so we were plying the best players from the last 10 or 15 years,” Costello said. “It was the best volleyball I’ve played in a while. I’m really looking forward to that this year.”
As someone who also plays soccer and basketball, the future Primary/Elementary Education major said she enjoys the true team nature of volleyball where there is little room for individual agendas.
“You can kind of do your own thing in those sports but if you’re not with your team in volleyball, you’re not getting anywhere,” she said.
According to Jonathan Snow, one of the league organizers, there are expected to be 12 teams in the tournament, with squads from Stephenville and Deer Lake in the field. He said like every year, the tournament will serve as a good kick-off to the season before league play begins next weekend.
Results and the level of play at the tourney will help organizers determine which teams play in Tier 1 or Tier 2 for what he anticipates with be at least a 15-team league.
Snow said in addition to welcoming new players, organizers would like to see volunteers step up to help the league run smoothly by helping out officiating and scoring games
“Even if they don’t have experience scoring, we can teach them,” Snow said. “We use a lot of the students up here and if there’s any junior high or high school students who want to volunteer or help score, its great experience for them as well.”
The tournament starts at 6 p.m. today and is expected to run until 6 p.m. Saturday. All games will be played at the Grenfell gymnasium.
For more information about the league or to volunteer, contact snow at firstname.lastname@example.org