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'It's amazing': Local students rally to net area volleyball crown

'You really have to play as a team. It takes a true group effort to win,' says Notre Dame Catholic School student

The gym at Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School (PF) is echoing today with the sounds of volleyballs and cheers as the intermediate girls Area Volleyball Tournament takes centre stage.

Almost 100 students from eight local elementary schools are volleying for a chance to represent Orillia at the Simcoe County championships next week.

Event co-convenor Nicole Lynch-Marwick, a teacher at Notre Dame Catholic School, says today’s tournament is an "amazing" opportunity for local girls.

"Because of COVID, a lot of these kids never had the opportunity to play junior volleyball at all," she explained. "This is their first time playing in any sort of tournament."

Lynch-Marwick says it's difficult to predict which schools have the best chance of making the championship round today.

"It's really quite competitive," she said. "The pools are really well balanced, and these should be really close games today."

Students playing in today’s tournament are learning from some of the best former volleyball players in the region, she noted.

"A lot of the teachers who are coaches played volleyball in university," Lynch-Marwick said. "It's amazing that they are able to give back and share their time."

Volleyball is a great winter sport for local youth that teaches them how to play as a team, Lynch-Marwick says.

"It really teaches you how to play different roles on a team," she said. "It also gives you an opportunity to be a leader, which is a great skill to transfer over to high school."

Grade 7 Notre Dame Catholic School students Madelyn Maccormack and Bella McFarland played in one of the first games of the day during Friday's tournament.

Maccormack, who has played volleyball for three years now, says she enjoys the team aspect of the sport.

"You really have to play as a team," she said. "It takes a true group effort to win." 

McFarland, who is playing volleyball for the first time this year, says she is enjoying the experience.

"I also play rep hockey," she explained. "The teamwork aspect of volleyball is very similar, even though it's a very different sport."

Maccormack says spending the day at PF in a high school environment has been eye-opening.

"It's kind of cool seeing what it's going to be like for me in a couple of years," she said. "It's been a good experience." 

McFarland has high hopes for her squad today and believes Notre Dame could win the area championship. 

"We are hoping to advance to countys," she said. "It's going to take a full team effort."

Grade 8 East Oro Public School students Scarlett Ramsey and Emma Williamson have been playing volleyball for the past two years.

"I like the team-building skills it teaches you," Ramsey said.

"It's all about trusting your teammates which is what I love about it," said Williamson, adding she's enjoying the tournament atmosphere at PF.

"We know a lot of the players from the other schools," she said. "It's nice to be able to play against your friends."

Ramsey says the tournament brings students together around their love of the sport.

"It's more fun than a regular night playing just one game," she said. "It's more exciting and competitive."

Both Ramsey and Williamson are confident in their team’s chances today.

"It's going to take good communication," Ramsey said. "We have to make sure we get all our serves over the net," Williamson added.

The championship final is slated for 3:30 p.m. today. All are welcome to cheer on the local finalists.


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Tyler Evans

About the Author: Tyler Evans

Tyler Evans got his start in the news business when he was just 15-years-old and now serves as a video producer and reporter with OrilliaMatters
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