Emily Giles glanced around the big gymnasium floor at the NSCC in Stellarton and expressed surprise that so many showed up for an open house organized by the Pictou County Invasion.
“No, I didn’t expect this many,” said the Sylvester resident, who plays on the Invasion’s U14 girls volleyball team (to be U15 in 2018).
“To see this many come out is definitely a shocker.”
About 50 girls (and a couple of boys) of varying age groups showed up at Tuesday’s event, where the Invasion also played an informal game against a few members of the Pictou County Major Bantam Bombers hockey team.
“It’s good to see so many girls come out to try it,” said Giles, who, along with some of her Invasion teammates, spent part of Tuesday night working with the newcomers, teaching them some volleyball basics.
One of the aims of the open house was to drum up interest in the sport, with the intent of putting more than one team on the floor when the club starts a new season in January.
“Hopefully we’ll have a young team, even if it’s just girls getting together in the community so they can have a chance to play.”
Volleyball is a fast-paced game that, among other things, requires good teamwork and the ability to ad-lib on the fly.
“It’s exciting, you’re always moving and there’s always something happening on the court,” said Giles, who started playing the sport when she was in Grade 6 at West Pictou Consolidated School.
The Invasion got its start last winter, putting a U14 team together that played in a handful of tournaments around Nova Scotia from January through April, ultimately finishing fourth in their age group at provincials.
“Last year, we started small, and we thought ‘well, what’s next?’” said Rae Gunn, one of the organizers of the open house.
“We thought this would be a great way to lean into next season.”
Gunn added that the planning committee members were “pleasantly surprised” with the number of people who showed enough interest to attend the open house.
“We want to thank the NSCC for providing the fantastic space and the volunteer coaches who gave their time to lead activities. We’re looking forward to expanding programs for the 2018 club season.”