CORNER BROOK Coach Nathan Wareham believes he has a special group of players under his tutelage.
Wareham has taken his share of dedicated volleyball players to the national stage, but this year’s squad appears to be a little hungrier with goals clearly set from the first practice of the season.
He is the head coach of the Titans Under-17 female volleyball team representing Newfoundland and Labrador at the National Under-17 Female Volleyball Championship in Abbottsford, B.C. this weekend.
He said the players have set goals for the year and a fine performance at nationals is high on the priority list for them.
“They’re willing to bust their butts to do it, as any other team has been, but this team is a little different,” coach Wareham said Monday.
“We’re a lot bigger and we’re a lot deeper than we’ve been in the past.”
The Titans will compete against 64 teams featuring the top volleyball players in the Under-17 age bracket.
Realistically, coach Wareham believes the team can reach its target goal of being among the top 20 teams at the tournament.
He expects the team will end up in Tier 2 of the competition, which he feels would be a great accomplishment for his charges.
“If we can win Tier 2 we will be almost top 10,” he said. “If we can pull off an upset or two I think we can get to Tier 1, but our team goal is to be in Tier 2.”
Danielle Walsh and Alicia Power serve as co-captains of the team that also features city natives Jenna Parsons, Nicole Boone, Maddie Hulan, Olivia Rogers, Olivia Barnable, Jill Snow of Bishop’s Falls and Rebecca Carter of Port aux Basques.
Having seen players come and go on the squad over the last couple of years, co-captain Walsh has noticed how the players are committed to a common goal and bring a good work ethic to the gym on a consistent basis.
“Definitely, we’re a stronger team. We work together and we’re all friends,” Walsh said. “We’ve played with each other now for a couple of years and we’ve played against each other so we got good competition.”
The team is a close-knit group who support each other at all times, according to Walsh.
“We’re all pushing each other on and off the court in order to get better,” she said.
Walsh is confident the squad can hold their own against the country’s best.
“I think we can compete with them if we work hard and play every point hard,” Walsh said.
Power, meanwhile, believes the players really care about how they perform and that’s really impressed her when she looks back on previous experiences where the players didn’t give it their best shot on a regular basis and the results showed as much.
She believes this year’s players get along really well and have a really good attitude. According to Power, the girls have talent too.
“Probably the best team I’ve ever been on,” she said.
As co-captain, Power plans on being a leader at the tournament.
“I just want to be a good role model up there and just keep everybody in the game at all times,” she said.
“Just go for everything and just don’t give up.”