Stephen Lewis Sharks aim to sink TDC Falcons
The West Division for Tier 1 senior girls volleyball will see a feeding frenzy for top spot this season.
After claiming second place last season, Stephen Lewis Sharks look to dethrone Toronto District Christian Falcons.
The Sharks, coached by Shawn Morris and Nicole Baxter, might lack club players but they make up for it with spunk.
“The team morale is good,” Morris said. “The girls seem to get along well together.
“It’s tough when you don’t have any club players on your team I guess,” he added. “So you’re pretty much doing the coaching yourself.”
Getting off to a 3-0 start doesn’t seem to hurt their drive for AAA provincials. Wins against St. Jean De Brebeuf 2-1 (25-19, 15-25, 15-7), and 2-0 versus Emily Carr (25-12, 25-9) have propelled them to their goal. Additionally, on Dec. 19, they were succesful against nemesis TDCH, 2-1 (22-25, 25-11, 16-14).
“We’re hoping to make a competitive run to see if we can get the AAA OFSAA bid,” he said. “We definitely cannot compete with some of the club teams up North but we try our best to be competitive in the West and see where the cards fall.”
In the swim of things are co-captains middle Chanel McKenzie and power/setter Patricia Palcu. Palcu has been used as an off-size striker, which has allowed grade 11 Claudia Ho to move into the role of setter.
McKenzie is not afraid to overkill the ball when presented with the opportunity by Ho.
“I love blocking and I love smashing,” she said, reinforcing Morris’ OFSAA intentions. “That’s our goal every single year and every year we hope to achieve that goal.”
The fact there are no club players on the Sharks’ roster does not sink McKenzie’s enthusiasm, as the coaching has been thorough and balanced.
“Morris is kind of the drill sergeant and Ms. Baxter helps motivate us,” she said, with a laugh. “Morris will try to help us overcome our fears and the problems we’re having.
“He’ll make us keep practising on it, until we’re no longer afraid of it.”
Stephen Lewis SS has a full complement of feeder teams with a majority of grade 10s on the Tier 1 junior team and grade 9s on the Tier 2 junior squad. The seniors are a split of seven grade 12s, seven 11s and one grade 10.
“It’s not like a pipeline but there’s kids who know what they are doing, who can always mentor the kids who follow,” Morris said. “We’re going to continue to develop the kids.
“Try to get as many wins as we can along the way, but just to continue to develop the skills.”