Five members of the Southwest Fusion Volleyball Club competed on provincial teams this summer: Sophie Surette, Ryleigh Mosley, Renee Cleveland, Kara Inskip and Rachelle LeBlanc. TINA COMEAU PHOTO
By Tina Comeau
No doubt there would be a lot of pride within the local Southwest Fusion Volleyball Club to have one of its players make a provincial team.
So you can imagine how thrilled the club was to not only see five of its members play on provincial teams this past summer, but to all come home with medals.
The five girls to make various Nova Scotia teams were Kara Inskip, Sophie Surette, Rachelle LeBlanc, Renee Cleveland and Ryleigh Mosley. After tryouts, training went on for most of the month of July in Truro and Dartmouth. The Eastern Elite Championships were held in Moncton, N.B. earlier this month.
Renee Cleveland played on an under-16 team that won gold. She started playing volleyball in Grade 7. The sport looked fun, she says, so she went out for the school team and later tried out for club volleyball. She had been at a provincial tryout camp last year but didn’t make it. The second time around she was just as nervous, she says, but had a better outcome. Cleveland will be enrolled in Grade 9 this year.
Kara Inskip and Ryleigh Mosley both played on the same under-14 team that won bronze in the Tier 2 division.
Inskip, who is going into Grade 8 this year, started playing volleyball in Grade 6. She likes the team aspect of the sport.
“Everyone has to be happy. If someone is down you just say, “It’s alright, you’ll get the next point,’” she says about the encouragement that goes on between teammates. “I just really like it. It’s really fun.”
Inskip says tryouts were “a little scary” because she didn’t know what to expect.
The tournament was tough as well because they were a U14 team playing against U15 teams.
“But it was a really good experience,” she says.
Likewise for her teammate Ryleigh Mosley, who started playing volleyball in Grade 6 after finishing up with competitive swimming. She’s now going into Grade 9. For Mosley it’s the aggression of the sport she finds most appealing.
“I just love how fast the sport moves,” she says. This was her first time playing on a provincial team and she says the three-hour tryout was extremely intense, yet also a lot of fun. She ended up being named captain of her provincial team, which was nice, she says, because it gave her the chance to demonstrate leadership on the court.
Sophie Surette and Rachelle LeBlanc were teammates on an under-14 team that won bronze in the Tier 1 division.
LeBlanc started in the sport in Grade 6. She’ll be in Grade 8 this year. She likes how competitive the sport is, saying her favourite skill is blocking.
Although she had never played volleyball before trying out for a club team, she says she picked up the sport fairly quickly. Still, she says, the provincial team tryout was very intimidating. She says it was great to see so many players from the Fusion Club having made the provincial teams. LeBlanc and Surette were among 43 girls vying for 20 team spots at their tryout.
In keeping with the trend Surette, who enters Grade 9 this fall, also starting playing volleyball when she was in Grade 6. She had never played before but decided to follow in her sister’s footsteps and try out for a club team. After having played on a C team her first year, her second year she was on an A team.
“I didn’t really play much because there were a lot of older players, but I learned so much that year just watching and practicing,” she says. The next year she not only made an A team again, but she was captain. On her provincial team she was named MVP.
What is it she likes most about the sport?
“I just like all of the fans cheering you on and when you play really good teams and you make good digs off the ground,” Surette says. “It’s just a really good feeling.”