Danielle Walsh wants to improve on her rookie volleyball season with the St. Anne’s Dragons. — Star file photo
CORNER BROOK No matter what unfolds on the hardcourt for Danielle Walsh in her sophomore season, she knows being fit and maintaining a positive attitude will serve her well.
Walsh was a dominant force for the St. Anne’s Dragons in her rookie season — earning a boatload of individual awards in leading her team to a top-four finish in the eight-team Atlantic Canada Athletic Association (ACAA) women’s volleyball setup.
The 18-year-old Corner Brook native, who was one of the top female volleyball players to graduate from Corner Brook High in recent years, won female athlete of the year at St. Anne’s and also got the nod as the Dragons’ Most Valuable Player. She earned selection to the ACAA second all-star team and made school officials look like geniuses when she was presented with the recruit of the year honour.
“Last year I realized going to the gym really helped me for my performance at that level so I guess I’ll have to keep that up,” said Walsh, who will head to St. Anne’s after celebrating Labour Day weekend at home in the city.
Walsh never expected her rookie campaign to go as well as it had, thinking all the time that she wanted to get used to the calibre of volleyball as she grew with the program. She is happy she had such a good year and things went well for her, but she’s been around competive sports all her life so she knows she can’t rest on her laurels.
She plans on keeping her head focused on getting better and putting in the long hours to make it happen. She also knows that being a positive player is something she has to really work on because not every day goes according to plan and she knows there will tough days from time to time for both her and her teammates. A smile on her face with sheer determination in her heart is how she plans on approaching the hardcourt.
“Going into the season with a good attitude is important for sure,” she said. “Just keep everyone up and motivated ... even if we’re down a bit. I need to keep pushing them because we did have a rough season last year at the beginning of the year, even though after Christmas we picked up our game.”
She has her awards tucked away in a safe place no doubt, but she’s not about to get complacent because she wants to reach her full potential as an elite female volleyball player.
“It was great to win all those awards last year I didn’t expect it all, but this year is a whole different year so I’m going to have to work harder than I did last year to see if I can improve,” she said.
She also feels it’s important for her to get a better grip on her emotions when it comes to winning. She was so used to winning on a consistent basis as a member of the talented Corner Brook High Titans team she starred for in high school, but life with the Dragons is another kettle of fish really because there exists a lot more parity and winning doesn’t come easy.
“Going from high school winning every single game with the Titans to attending this school and not winning every game was tough,” she said. “But, this year I’m going in realizing we’re not going to win every game, but we have to work really hard because there is a good chance we’re going to have a good season.”