qathet region volleyball enthusiast Emma Young’s team was just two serves away from a national championship, but came away with the silver medal instead.
Young, a 15-year-old grade 10 student at Brooks Secondary School, is a member of the Comox Wave volleyball club and trains on Vancouver Island three times a week because she is so passionate about the sport.
She lived in the Lower Mainland last year and began to play volleyball at a high level. When she moved back to this region, she wanted to continue playing with a competitive volleyball team.
“I went to try out on Vancouver Island and there was a high performance team in Comox,” said Young. “I made the tryouts in the beginning of December, so I started playing there.”
She said originally, she was looking at joining a Nanaimo club because she didn’t know Comox had a team, but when looking online, Young discovered there was a team on the north island.
“It was closer than Nanaimo so we tried out for Comox.”
Expectations of playing on a high-performance club are high. In order to facilitate the training schedule, Young took online classes, and studied at Brooks half time, so she was able to travel.
“My teammates and their parents were really helpful,” said Young. “They let me stay at their houses.”
She said she was accommodated in a way that worked well for her.
As well as training hard, the Wave was able to compete in what Young termed as super series tournaments, so she played in Victoria, the Lower Mainland and in Vancouver. She said placement in those tournaments led to the team’s ranking in provincial championships. She said the Wave competed in the provincial competition and went to nationals right after that.
“In provincials, we didn’t do as well, but we were able to go onto nationals and play at our level,” said Young. “For the Volleyball Canada youth nationals in Calgary, if you think your team is good enough, you can go.
“There were more than 200 teams there. We were in Calgary for five days.”
The tournament was held at the Olympic Oval at University of Calgary from May 11 to 13.
Young said her team played three games a day, which was tiring for the 11 players who travelled. The tournament format featured best out of three competitions.
Competitions for the Wave included playing against teams from Yukon, a couple from Manitoba and a couple from Ontario.
“We really came out, especially in the playoff stages,” said Young. “It was the end of the season and we didn’t want to finish on a bad note. Everyone kind of came together, worked together, and played at a team level we know we can play at.”
In the final, the Wave played against a team called LVC, short for Lethbridge Volleyball Club. Young said her team won the first set 25-10, but then in the second set, the Wave lost in a close contest. She said the third set went to 15, but the victor has to win by two points. The game ended up tied 15-15.
“We had the serve but my teammate missed,” said Young. “They [LVC] served and were up by one, and then they served again, and again took the point. We lost 17-15. It was a really close final game.”
Young started playing volleyball in grade seven but COVID-19 put a halt to games in grade eight. Grade nine was when Young was in the city and she tried out for the school team and made it. Her coach also coached a club team and asked Young to try out.
“I made the club team and I realized that I really like the sport,” said Young. “I wanted to keep going with it when I came here.
“I like the team play and it makes you feel good when you get a kill shot. It’s a really exciting game, and when they are like the last game in the national finals, it’s really intense, but fun.”
Young said she wants to continue playing high performance volleyball, and maybe even play at a post-secondary level, eventually, if she gets the chance.
She is thankful to School District 47 for providing travel vouchers to help her make it to her practices across the water. Teachers were also accommodating, she added.