Sam Dicks returns a volley during the Grenfell women’s volleyball practice on Tuesday. — Star photos by Geraldine Brophy
CORNER BROOK Sarah Stratton is happy to be back on the west coast playing volleyball in a more competitive environment.
The Corner Brook native, a former Newfoundland and Labrador Volleyball Association female volleyball player of the year, is back on the hardcourt as a member of the Grenfell Campus team.
The 20-year-old played the past two seasons with Turkey Joe’s of the St. John’s women’s volleyball league, but opted to return to Grenfell this year for her fourth year of university in her pursuit of one day being a member of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary.
The Grenfell women’s volleyball team has been holding workouts for the past couple of weeks under new head coach Nathan Wareham. Wareham — who replaced Randy Rowsell — is known for his coaching success at the high school level as the head coach of the Titans female volleyball team where Stratton played three seasons under his tutelage.
“It’s a nice change because last year we didn’t have a coach and it was just like fun,” Stratton said of her stint with Turkey Joe’s.
Far removed from a hectic training regime as an elite athlete, Stratton hasn’t lost her thirst for volleyball.
Being involved with a team following a program is something she will relish once again.
“This year has more structure to it and it’s nice to have Nathan Wareham back again where I played for him three years in high school,” she said.
“He knows what he’s talking about and he’s used to the high-calibre girls anways so I guess he’s trying to get us to step up.”
Stratton has been impressed with the group of players assembled for this season with a couple of former teammates and a few new faces in the mix giving her hope for a good season.
“We just got to get our team meshing together,” she said.
She believes that will happen when the team hits the road this weekend for a number of games. The Grenfell girls will participate in the annual Atlantic Colleges Athletic Association (ACAA) tip-off tournament in Nova Scotia next weekend, but before they take on some of the small schools in Nova Scotia they will be in for a tough test when they tangle with the Cape Breton Capers of the Atlantic University Sport in an exhibition game.
The showdown with the Capers is something Stratton is looking forward to because she knows it will be high calibre.
“It’s going to be interesting to see how we compete against them, but we got a lot of good players so we should give them a good run for their money,” she said.
Hoping to be immersed in a career with the RNC in the near future because she sees it as a career that will be both interesting and fun, Stratton knows the days of living and breathing volleyball are behind her.
However, she insists she will play the game as long as she can keep up.
“Can’t give that up,” she said. ‘It’s a lifestyle now.”