Interest in volleyball is building at Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School this year.
PSO’s volleyball coaches, husband and wife Shawn and Lori Melville, have their hands full with several senior players and close to 40 junior players taking to the court. Lori, who typically coaches the juniors, said they’ve had to split the Grade 10 girls off into the senior program just to manage.
“We took 42 girls to Williams Lake last week, which was a little crazy but lots of fun,” Lori said. “They’re a super enthusiastic group and there’s a lot of them. It’s stretching the coaches a little but we’re making it work.”
This year, Shawn said they have 14 Grade 8 girls, 14 Grade 9 girls, 14 Grade 10 girls and 11 senior girls. If all the boys from those age groups came at the same time he said they’d have around 10 players, although they are competing with rugby.
The players are really interested in the cerebral part of the game, Shawn said. “The goal for them this year is to get them to run 25 plays and right now they’re at about 11 but they’re really interested in adding that to their game.”
Senior team players Sophie Barrick, Kaitlyn Piccolo and Cate McArthur said they’ve been playing volleyball together since Grade 6. Barrick said she enjoys the social aspect of a game as it’s an excuse to hang out with people she doesn’t otherwise see.
“Travelling as a team and getting to work together and watch the progress we make is great,” Piccolo said.
So far, Lori said her Grade 10 girls are really starting to gel, both on and off the court. She said they’ve played together for a few years now and they’ve learned how to communicate.
Shawn said during the pandemic the volleyball program ground to a halt with only occasional games within cohorts taking place. This year he set a goal for his players, especially the senior girls, to travel to out-of-town tournaments in Kamloops, Williams Lake and Prince George.
“We’re just going to play and see what happens,” Shawn said. “School sports and community athletics, it’s so wonderful to see them back again. They’re good for the kids.”
McArthur is excited that they’re going to be travelling and going to tournaments this year. It’s a lot better than just playing at the school, Barrick said, noting that until recently they’ve rarely had enough players to form two teams of six. Seeing the explosion of interest in the younger grades makes McArthur and Piccolo optimistic for the future.
“It’s nice to see they have a big group of people and hopefully they all continue to play so they have a good team,” Piccolo said.