One thing about the Sydenham High School senior girls volleyball team is that they think of themselves as a team. Just ask them, they’ll tell you.
“We all work so well together,” said left-side striker Robin Melnick. “We have a positive atmosphere here and all our parts work together.
“If somebody gets down, we’re all supportive.”
“We have a lot of individual strengths but we work together as a team,” said setter Jocelyn Farmer. “At the beginning we weren’t as much but at the end, our biggest strength is when we’re combined.”
“We always have each other’s backs,” said middle striker Tess Fraser. “Under (coach Bryan) English’s leadership. “He knows every decision to be made.”
In fact, they’re all only too happy to give the coach credit for the team’s success.
“He’s never super high or super low,” said Fraser.
“Like a rock,” said Melnick. “English always stresses ‘play like you can.’”
“Great guy,” said Farmer.
But they also see the strengths in each other.
Melnick on Fraser: “Tess is super calm. She’s really a team player and a big blocker.”
Fraser on Farmer: “She involves everyone and . . . she knows when we really have to get a point.”
Farmer on Melnick: “I don’t know where to start. She’s an amazing player, a leader, and what athleticism.
“She has an amazing vertical.”
And, they have fun with each other, such as Melnick’s little idiosyncrasies and superstitions.
“I am superstitious,” Melnick admitted. “Little things like changing my hair, tying my shoelaces.”
And her service routine, the others remind her.
“Well, I have to walk across the line left foot first,” she said, demonstrating. “Then it’s spin, bounce, deep breath and serve.
“We all have them (but) our biggest success is that everybody puts in the effort so we don’t have to rely on one person.”
Fraser, Farmer and Melnick are three of seven seniors on this squad so they know this is the time if they’re going to be successful in Streetsville.
“This is the last big hurrah for the seniors,” said Melnick.
“We’re a unit,” said Fraser.
“Just better the ball in front of you,” said Farmer.
It has all worked very well for the Golden Eagles all year. They were 10-0 in league play at the Kingston Area Secondary School Association (KASSAA) play and won the playoffs to take the League Championship 3-2 over Regiopolis. They moved on the Eastern Ontario Secondary Schools Association AA tournament, which they also won.
But they have been in tough this week at the Ontario Federation of Secondary Schools Association AA finals in Streetsville.
Sydenham is the 16th seed of 20 schools in the tournament. They lost their first two games in straight sets on March 5 to Lockerby SS and Nelson , before winning their first game on March 6 over Westgate and then losing to the tournament host, Streetsville in their final pool game. This relegated them to the consolation tier, but they rallied after losing the first set bya score of 25-20 in a best of five contest with 9th seeded Mclaughlin, taking the next three sets, 25-21, 25-21, and 25-9. The Golden Eagles went on to play the consolation semi-final against 10th seeded St. David on Wednesday morning, which they lost in straight sets. St, David then went on to win the Consolation final. St.Mary, the 2nd seed, won the gold medal final.