Kelsey Bell, right, is coaching the senior girls’ volleyball team at Chemainus Secondary School again, assisted by vice-principal Jennie Hittinger. (File photo by Don Bodger)

Kelsey Bell, right, is coaching the senior girls’ volleyball team at Chemainus Secondary School again, assisted by vice-principal Jennie Hittinger. (File photo by Don Bodger)

Learning experience for rebuilding Chemainus senior girls in volleyball

Salt Spring tournament gets the ball rolling on the season

It’s a rebuilding year for the Chemainus Secondary School senior girls volleyball team, with only four players returning from last season.

But coach Kelsey Bell is optimistic about the season, with a great mix of experience provided by Hannah DuMez, Morgan Bottomley, Andrea Brooks and Daisy Wright, plus an infusion of total newcomers to the game and juniors moving up to the senior ranks. There’s plenty of players in the mix, with 14 at this point.

“We have quite a bit of younger players on the team, a lot of Grade 10s that moved up and are playing with us,” said Bell.

“Some of our senior girls have stepped up and taken on that leadership role. At this point, we’re developing our skills.”

The Cougars played their first match last Thursday against Cowichan Secondary in Chemainus. Bell said the girls were too worried about the other team and not communicating with each other in the first set but improved in the second during the loss.

The team headed to Gulf Islands Secondary Saturday for a tournament and lost three matches without taking a set, but there were plenty of bright spots.

“It was a great learning experience, for sure,” said Bell.

“The Salt Spring tournament, we wanted everyone to play. We definitely juggled everyone around.”

The first best-of-three resulted in a two-set loss to Nanaimo Christian School, a team that qualified for the single-A provincials last season.

“I think the girls were a bit shellshocked,” Bell indicated. “They’re quite a good team.”

The Cougars definitely played better in the second set and eased into the match.

Chemainus also lost in two sets to host Gulf Islands and in three sets to Cowichan Secondary during a best-of-five.

The Cougars have this week off before hosting Shawnigan Lake School next Tuesday.