Enjoying life on the beach with new Staxx club
by Randy Pascal
The turf field at the James Jerome Sports Complex and the refurbished Laurentian track might be the most noticeable legacies of the 2010
Ontario Summer Games in Sudbury, but they are hardly the only ones.
With five courts constructed on the shores of Lake Ramsey at Moonlight, beach volleyball gained a degree of exposure in the area last August, looking
to now crank it up another notch.
Enter the newly-formed Staxx Beach Volleyball Club, a crew of twenty or so youngsters aged 12 to 18, practicing twice a week at the lakeside
facilities that have drawn rave reviews rom seasoned competitors.
Cathy Sutton has been a mainstay with the OVA (Ontario Volleyball Association) Beach Volleyball Tour for the past decade or so, joining husband
Tom in making the weekend treks to Wasaga Beach, Sauble Beach and Ashbridges Bay (Toronto).
The elementary school teacher at Northeastern Public School has now expanded her involvement, creating a club that finds local athletes enjoying the
fun of beach volleyball competition.
"The beach and the indoor game really complement each other" Sutton said, while taking in the Tuesday night pratice. "Beach is good training, not as
hard on the body, and you're still enjoying the wonderful summer weather, but getting good touches."
"Defensive coverage, defensive movement, their skills reading the opposition, all drastically improve with the beach," Sutton added. "And because
they're training in the sand, moving against resistance, when they go back on the (indoor) court, they're going to be bouncing all over the place."
Having played with Sutton at Northeastern in grade 8 last winter, Stacey Gregorini and Brittany Reinhardt jumped at the
chance to keep working on their skill development, all while soaking up the sun, this summer.
Both girls feel strongly that gaining exposure to a game that suddenly involves only one other teammate on the court, versus five for the indoor version,
can only prove positive in the long run.
"It helps us a lot, because we are learning different positions, so when we go back to court volleyball, we can play a wide variety of positions,"
"You always rotate," chimed in Reinhardt. "Whoever the ball comes to, the other person is the setter. Definitely communication is one of the biggest
things, and passing is very important in the game."
Armed with very modest goals, the tandem parlayed a few weeks of practice time into tournament competition, heading to Ashbridges Bay, the mecca for
the sport in Ontario with more than one hundred courts lining the shores of Lake Ontario in the eastern GTA.
"It was pretty intimidating," Gregorini said. "You see a lot of girls that are six feet tall and you're wondering if they're U14 or U15." Competing
within the U14 division, the Northeastern duo surprised even themselves, placing third at one of two tournament appearances this summer.
"We came in not thinking that we would do very good, just coming out to have fun," Reinhardt said. "Finishing third was awesome." This coming weekend,
the local crew will enjoy home court advantage as Sudbury has earned a stop on the "Tour" for the first time in history.
"We're just wanting to get more exposure for the sport in northern Ontario," Sutton said. "Sudbury and North Bay are the two main centers for beach
volleyball in the north. The kids will get a chance to compete, earn points and get lots of good experience."
The tournament, which is expected to remain fairly modest this year, drawing mostly from the local crew, will take place all day Saturday at the
Moonlight Beach courts.
Teams that have been participating in competition this summer and are expected to be on hand include Hannah Grace and Indigo Clement,
Tayte Kosmerly and Phil Villeneuve, Sven Trodel and Hayden Kosmerly, and Gregorini and Reinhardt, among others.
In other local volleyball news, Northern Chill middle Nicole Collard is currently among a group of forty or so female athletes who have
gathered at Humber College in Etobicoke, taking part in the OVA High Performance Camp (HPC).
The Camp is utilized as a means of selecting the Provincial team that will represent Ontario at the 2011 National Team Challenge Cup being held
in Winnipeg (Manitoba) beginning on July 18th.