The U15 and U16 Port Hardy Reigns girls volleyball teams. Mayumi Hinatsu-Willie missing from photo. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)

The U15 and U16 Port Hardy Reigns girls volleyball teams. Mayumi Hinatsu-Willie missing from photo. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)

Port Hardy Reigns volleyball program continues to grow with 18 players this season

‘This season we’ve really been focusing on respect, attitude, love for the game, that sort of thing’

The Port Hardy Reigns volleyball club continues to show serious growth.

The Reigns are a volleyball team comprised of two different age groups, U15 and U16 girls, and they have an incredible 18 players on the roster this season.

Mike McCulley has been coaching the girls for two years now and he got involved because his daughter Eden plays U15.

“This season we’ve really been focusing on respect, attitude, love for the game, that sort of thing,” said McCulley when asked about how the two teams have been doing this season.

He noted it’s “really good coaching all the girls, I know a lot of them really well now. It’s sometimes tricky to be a dad and a coach, but it’s super rewarding to see the girls go down island and really improve every time they go on the court.”

Both Reigns teams have recently been playing in tournaments in Nanaimo, and McCulley said the coaching staff are pretty proud of how all the players competed. “They were playing against some tough competition, but we managed to win a few sets and focus on team building. I think the girls were really successful and they felt happy with what they did. We pulled off a match win in the U15 division, which was great for us.”

Rachel Pohl, Grade 10, said it’s her first season playing with the Reigns, but she’s played previously with the Avalon Kodiaks since she was in Grade six. “I do a lot of blocking, setting, and hitting,” she said about her skills on the court, while also noting she’s really thankful for the volunteer coaches. “They put a lot of effort in and it’s really appreciated by the team.”

Brooke Mercer, a U15 player for the Reigns, said she likes “hanging out friends, and the teamwork and communicating while getting to play volleyball.”

She noted she enjoys everything about the sport, and her favourite moment from the season so far was “when we tied one of our games” in Nanaimo.

It’s Taylor Spafford’s first year playing volleyball, and she said it’s been “really good” so far, stating, “it’s been kind of exciting to go and play down island.”

She said she wanted to try the sport because she wasn’t playing hockey as much this season, “and I wanted to get out of the house.”

Spafford gave some advice to potential players. “Just try it — don’t be scared, everyone’s been really welcoming.”

Justin Reusch is back once again as the head coach of the program, and he noted he’s really happy to see the that club is continuing to grow at a rapid pace. “This year we were able to divide into two teams… and it’s really great to see we’re getting more and more kids coming out to play every year.”

He said his daughter and her friends started out their first season with only nine or ten kids on the team, and he pointed out that he wanted to say a couple thank you’s.

“The Lions Club has done nothing but support us our entire career, and I want to give a shoutout to the parents — the parents who drive their kids up here twice a week every week from Port McNeill, the parents who take their kids all the way down to Nanaimo to play, so yeah, big shoutout to the parents who commit to supporting their kids in the community by giving them some really good athletic curricular activities that will hopefully help them out in the future.”

The Reigns final tournament of the 2019 season will be a provincial tournament with a ton of tough competition, which is being held in Abbotsford.


@NIGazette
editor@northislandgazette.com

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Port Hardy Reigns U16 team playing down island. (Brenda Cadwallader photo)

Port Hardy Reigns U16 team playing down island. (Brenda Cadwallader photo)

Port Hardy Reigns U15 team playing down island. (Sandy Grenier photo)

Port Hardy Reigns U15 team playing down island. (Sandy Grenier photo)

Port Hardy Reigns U15 team stops playing for substitutions. (Sandy Grenier photo)

Port Hardy Reigns U15 team stops playing for substitutions. (Sandy Grenier photo)

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