The Panthers Volleyball Club poses for a team photo during provincials over the weekend. Front row from left: Lauren Kellock, Danielle Farrell, Breanna Lodge, Kenzie Hart and Abby MacLean. Back row: head coach John Lodge, Victoria Robertson, McKayla Symons, Emma Holle, Olivia Murray, assistant coach Tracy Kellock. Missing from photo: Maddie Byrne.
The Panthers Volleyball Club wrapped up play for the season at the Volleyball Nova Scotia provincial championship this past weekend.
The female team competed in the U-16 division with a team that mainly of 14-year-olds from across the county. They finished with two wins and five losses.
The club was formed in January after the junior high school girls volleyball season ended. Several girls expressed an interest to keep playing throughout the winter, so with the help of a few parents a club team was formed. Ten girls from NGJHS, EPMS, Thorburn, Highland and NRHS have been practicing all winter under the coaching of John Lodge, Tracy Kellock and Crystal Young. The team entered four tournaments including Cape Breton, Antigonish and Bedford, and traveled to and hosted exhibition games as well. The team didn’t medal in any competitions, but their goal in this initial year was to improve their skills, learn and have fun.
“I’m very proud of the way these girls performed this year,” said coach Lodge. “This was their first year at provincials. They dug deep. We won two and the other matches were very close.”
Lodge was especially impressed with their win against Dartmouth, a come from behind win against a large club from the city. Their other win was against Digby.
In addition to specific skills like digging, setting and positioning, the team spent a considerable amount of time working on teamwork, relying on their teammates and trust on the volleyball court. Coach Lodge used various team building tactics to get the girls comfortable with each other in such a short amount of time. Their time together as a club team can be described in their theme song they used in practices; “Happy.”