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Digging toes in the sand on priority list of local beach volleyball players hoping to play in 2021 Canada Summer Games


Decked out in sunglasses and swimsuit on a sandy beach is always something young people look forward to every summer.

A group of athletes from Corner Brook are going to punch some time at the beach, but it won’t be about lying on a blanket and working on a nice tan.

There are four teams, one male and three female, from the Corner Brook beach volleyball program poised this summer to train for a chance to represent Newfoundland and Labrador at the 2021 Canada Summer Games.

The proposed plan is to have a number of teams from around the island compete during the 2018, 2019 and 2020 seasons in a number of beach tour events, including two Atlantic Beach Tour events scheduled for July at the Corner Brook beach volleyball court.

These teams will receive the support of the Canada Games coaching staff for everything from physical and mental training to access to high-performance trainers.

At the end of the summer in 2020, there will be a Canada Games Trials held for all prospective teams and the male and female winners will earn the right to represent the province at the 2021 Games.

Corner Brook beach volleyball players Alyssa Warford and Ashley Jacobs, Julianne King and Ashley Parsons and Brianna Chaulk and Katelyn Cleary are the teams in the mix on the female side.

Corner Brook’s Chris LeRoy and Robbie MacDonald form a strong team on the men’s side in the quest for a chance to wear the provincial colours on the national stage.

The Western Star caught up with the prospects earlier this week to get their thoughts on the journey to the Games.

Julianne King

Hometown: Corner Brook

Age:16

Parents: Alex King and Deanne Penney

How important is communication on the court when it comes to the beach volleyball game?

It’s really important because if you don’t say anything the ball falls on the ground. Even when it comes to hitting or just defence, communication is key.

How do you feel about being able to change your partner at any time to put yourself in a better position to win the Canada Games Trials?

I guess it would be really difficult where you’re training with somebody for three years and you just have to switch immediately and you don’t know what they play like or how you two work together. It would be bad if somebody got hurt but you could still try to continue.

Ashley Parsons

Hometown: Corner Brook

Age: 16

Parents: Kerrilynn and Rudy Parsons

How important is communication on the court when it comes to the beach volleyball game?

Communication is probably the most important thing on the court when you’re playing. It avoids confusion and all that stuff. If you communicate, you always know who is playing the ball and where to swing and all that stuff.

How do you feel about being able to change your partner at any time to put yourself in a better position to win the Canada Games Trials?

I think they’re all great girls to play with. I would be glad to play with either of them, but I think it’s good to see who you work best with and who you have the best connection with.

Alyssa Warford

Hometown: Corner Brook

Age: 17

Parents: Mary and Wade Warford

How important is communication on the court when it comes to the beach volleyball game?

Communication is very important on the court because if you’re not communicating with your partner you both don’t know what’s going on. Who is playing the ball and certain calls and plays that you do so you really need to communicate to get that across.

How do you feel about being able to change your partner at any time to put yourself in a better position to win the Canada Games Trials?

I feel like sticking with the partner you have definitely has its advantages because you know how to work with them and you’ve been with them and you know what works good. But, if something were to happen, like if they couldn’t go on or if you couldn’t, then the other person is able to continue if that’s something they want to do so it’s nice to have the option.

Ashley Jacobs

Hometown: Corner Brook

Age: 17

Parents: Trent and Tiffany Jacobs

How important is communication on the court when it comes to the beach volleyball game?

Communication is really important because there’s only two of you. Whenever your partner is playing the ball you know you always got to get the next one, and for passing it back and forth to put it over the net you always have to know where your partner is on the court so you can make the best shots according to where your partner is. Also, with weather conditions, if it’s really windy and stuff you got make sure you’re loud and communicate well with your partner too.

How do you feel about being able to change your partner at any time to put yourself in a better position to win the Canada Games Trials?

Personally, I feel really comfortable with keeping the same partner because you learn how each other plays and you build better communication with each other and you know what the other is comfortable with according to things like setting. I obviously would love to play but I personally feel more comfortable with keeping the same person because I think it will be beneficial in the long run.

Brianna Chaulk

Hometown: Massey Drive

Age: 17

Parents: Adam and Deanne Chaulk

How important is communication on the court when it comes to the beach volleyball game?

I think it’s really important. Probably more important than indoor when you have five other players around you. With beach it’s just you and your partner so you really have to talk to each other to let each other know where you are on the court because you can’t always see and sometimes it’s sunny so it’s hard to see. You have to let each other know where you are, if your down on the ground where you just dug ball or up where you’re ready for a pass.

How do you feel about being able to change your partner at any time to put yourself in a better position to win the Canada Games Trials?

It really depends on the person. Personally, I find it better when you develop a good routine with your partner and you know how they play, and you guys can play together and connect. Sometimes it’s different playing with new players because you don’t really know you will play together so I guess it could have its advantages but also its disadvantages.

Katelyn Cleary

Hometown: Corner Brook

Age: 17

Parents: Kimberly and Robert Cleary

How important is communication on the court when it comes to the beach volleyball game?

Communication is probably the key to success in beach volleyball. Without communication you won’t get anywhere. Communication lets you know who is going to get the ball and who is going to set it up, and it’s just going to drop and you go nowhere if you don’t have good communication.

How do you feel about being able to change your partner at any time to put yourself in a better position to win the Canada Games Trials?

There’s pros and cons to it I guess. You are with a partner all the time so you are used to how they play, use to their skills and you grow with them. But if you change partners then change is always good and you never know you could just click with somebody else from the start. If somebody does get hurt you have something else to fall back on because you could get another player.

Chris LeRoy

Hometown: Corner Brook

Age:16

Parents: Mary Lou and Gord LeRoy

How important is communication on the court when it comes to the beach volleyball game?

It’s the most important part really. If two of you don’t communicate where you’re going to go then the ball can go to the other side and if you didn’t communicate that you were going to go back you wouldn’t be able to get it. Say it we’re serving, unlike in indoor, you have to call where you want them to serve and call where you’re going to block and stuff like that.

How do you feel about being able to change your partner at any time to put yourself in a better position to win the Canada Games Trials?

It gives you a chance to find out who you play best with. But, say if I was playing with somebody and they picked somebody else, I guess I would feel pretty bad. You’d be able to change partners but I think it would be too late to find a new partner even though there’s always guys willing to play.

Robbie MacDonald

Hometown: Corner Brook

Age:17

Parents: Doug MacDonald and Shirley Payne

How important is communication on the court when it comes to the beach volleyball game?

For beach volleyball where it’s just you and your partner I think communication is probably the most key part to the whole game. If you’re not communicating, then it’s kind of just you out there by yourself. So you need good communication to work really well as a team.

How do you feel about being able to change your partner at any time to put yourself in a better position to win the Canada Games Trials?

Me and Chris have grown up together and we can work through a lot of things regardless of the situation. I’m sure if we just talked it out and had time to go over it I’m sure we could get through it. I guess it’s great that one of us would did get hurt we could have other options to go further.

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