The season has finished for the Fernie Academy’s bantam girls volleyball team and their coaches say it was a very successful season. According to coaches Jerri-Lynn Winters and Jean Boyd, the girls progressed and played together well, resulting in their most successful season yet.
The team, consisting of 10 girls age 12 and 13, practiced two times a week throughout the fall, including a morning practice starting at 6 a.m. The team practices at the Fernie Community Centre, as The Academy doesn’t have a gymnasium on their property.
Most of the girls have been playing together for three years, and they all agreed that being friends off of the court made it easier to play together and support each other on the court.
“All being friends, it’s easy. We’re together five days a week. We hang out during the weekends and that’s seven days. It’s kind of not entirely super serious, we kind of just treat it like hanging out at the tournaments. We know each other not just in volleyball, but in classes and as friends,” they said.
Their coach echoed this sentiment.
“They are all super energetic. They get along really well, so it was a lot of fun playing, which was good. They learned a lot throughout the year, they progressed quite well so they have a big bright future ahead of them,” said Winters, who coached them for the first time this year.
The team agreed that the Fernie Secondary School team was their biggest rival and the one that they had the most fun competing against. The two teams were close in skill level, resulting in close and energetic matches and the teams faced each other in more than one semi-final game.
Winters, who has coached volleyball for ten seasons, said that the girls made a cohesive team.
“They are a pretty unique group of kids. They all get along even though they are from different backgrounds and have different interests, but there is one interest that they can connect over and that is volleyball. It’s nice for them to play together,” she said.
With the school season being over, most of the girls are looking forward to starting the club season, which they will start practicing for in January. The team participates in the Alberta Volleyball Association, playing teams as far away as Edmonton.
“You can open it up to anyone in the community, so our club is actually open to anyone who wants to play, like anyone from Jaffray or Fernie or Sparwood – anyone can join the club,” said Winters.