© Star file photo
Danielle Walsh poses for a photo while home on break at Christmas.
CORNER BROOK Two years of varsity volleyball at St. Anneâs University has helped paved the way for Danielle Walshâs desire to be a French teacher one day, but sheâs ready for a change of scenery.
Walsh, a Corner Brook native, wrapped up her sophomore season at the franchophone university in Nova Scotia a few weeks ago when the St. Anneâs Dragons failed to make the playoffs in the eight-team Atlantic College Athletic Association womenâs volleyball setup.
While sheâs eligible to hone both her volleyball and French skills for another three years at St. Anneâs, Walsh has opted to attend Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. Johnâs in September to finish off her pursuit of a bachelor of arts with a French major.
âJust to be closer to home,â Walsh said. âI found the school up there was probably a little too tiny ... I needed something bigger.
âIt was a great atmosphere, but it was just time to move on,â she added of the great learning environment she found herself immersed in for those two years.
Only the top four teams advance to the playoffs, so the Dragons were left on the outside looking in after a sixth-place finish in the standings. It wasnât as exciting as her rookie season when the Dragons managed to earn a playoff berth.
âItâs a little bit disappointing that our hard work didnât pay off, but then again the teams this year in the league weâre closer in competition,â she said. âSo it was harder this year to probably to make the playoffs than it was last year.â
She looks back on her two years at St. Anneâs with no regrets and chooses to look at all the positives from the experience rather than the negatives. She takes pride in the fact the team worked hard all year and even though she felt she could have played better, she wasnât about to beat herself up over it.
âWe pushed ourselves more this year because we realized we had a stronger team, so that was a positive for us, but just in the end it didnât work out the way we wanted it to,ââshe said.
Wash was a dominant force for the Dragons in her rookie campaign and she received the accolades to prove it. She won female athlete of the year at St. Anneâs and also got the nod as the Dragons most valuable player. She then earned selection to the ACAA second all-star team to make school officials look like geniuses when she was selected recruit of the year in her first season after an impressive high school career with the Corner Brook Titans.
More importantly, the 20-year-old learned a life lesson or two from taking the journey.
âI feel that if hadnât went two years ago right out of high school I probably wouldnât have matured as much as I have and got used to living away from home,â she said. âI felt it really helped me as a person grow ... personality wise and being able to meet new people.â
Volleyball has been a passion for the young woman for so many years itâs tough to imagine what life would be like without it, but life goes on so time will tell what the future holds.
âIâm still unsure if I want to play next year. Iâmight want a break, but who knows what could happen come September,â she said.