Volleyball a staple at St. A’s

Before the volleyball season even hits full swing, St. Augustine is making history.

Jennifer Henderson of the St. Augustine Queens jumps to hit a back row smash during a tournament game in Wetaskiwin

Before the volleyball season even hits full swing, St. Augustine is making history.

For the first time, the school is home to nine teams, ranging from grades 4 to 12.

As usual there’s a senior girls’ team but for the first time in eight years there is also a senior boys’ team.

“They’ve been watching these girls these last few years have a lot of fun and success,” said senior girls coach Darren Josephison.

“Senior girls have had a lot of success the last few years. They won the league three out of four years,” he added.

St. Augustine also has a junior varsity (JV) team of Grade 10 girls; they could have played at the senior high school level but had enough numbers to make their own team. “In the bigger schools like (Ponoka Secondary Campus) they have JV,” said Josephison.

There are also three junior high girls’ teams. “Girls’ volleyball has been really popular at our school,” said Josephison.

The girls are split between two A teams consisting of grades 8 and 9 students and a B team of Grade 7 girls.

Junior high boys have one A and B teams.

St. Augustine focuses on running a competitive volleyball program and interest has taken root in the elementary grades. “Even down there there’s interest,” said Josephison.

“We’re kind of a mixture; trying to get as many kids as possible and not cut anyone but also run a competitive program,” Josephison explained.

Tryouts were held at the junior level to determine how the A and B teams would be made up.

Approximately 20 girls showed up with A teams skills and while each one was able to make the team the structure is still heavily competitive. Older girls play more time on the court and younger players spend more time watching from the bench, says Josephison.

He says by the grades 8 and 9 level both male and female players begin seeing winning as their priority. “They (junior A girls) are usually competing in the last couple of teams for the league championship.”

For the past several years St. Augustine has been a 1A school. With the unexpected in influx of about 50 students this fall they were bumped up to a 2A school.

The school had been hoping to host a provincial tournament, which will only happen if they drop back down to 1A, which Josephison doesn’t see happening.

However, the girls’ teams are known for hosting exhibition tournaments such as the Turkey Burner that’s in its fifth year and Josephison hopes the boys’ teams will eventually follow suit.