Like the mighty Phoenix, the very fact there was a boys volleyball program at the high school level at St. Mary’s was a feat — rising from the ashes.
“When we began at the beginning of the year, we basically had a couple of kids but not too many,” said A.J. Bergenhenengouwen, athletic director for St. Mary’s School and head coach of the Celtics boys volleyball team.
The lack of numbers meant the team could not register a team to compete in the Southern Alberta High School Boys Volleyball League in time and looked like it would be folding for another year. But a late push of interest among students gave it a solid 13-player roster, in which the Celtics tried to get into exhibition matches and tournaments.
“A couple of weeks later, a lot of kids started to come up saying they wanted to play volleyball and we decided to have a team. My philosophy is basically if we have enough kids we want to make sure we give them a chance to play no matter what,” said Bergenhenengouwen.
“It doesn’t matter if we win or lose, it’s more about the experience and getting the program up and running to where it once was.”
The program has legs to it for longevity, in that, there are no Grade 12s on the team, only Grade 10s and 11s with some solid Grade 9s coming down the pike.
“Basically, my philosophy is everyone is going to get a chance to be on the court and get a chance to play. We are trying to develop the program from there where we want more kids to like it and see they are good at it,” said Bergenhenengouwen. “We have a couple of Grade 9s we are really excited about in trying to rebuild the program.”