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What you need to know about COVID-19: September 22, 2020
It’s 7:30 a.m. on an already hot summer day and eight women are smiling and laughing as they serve aces, dig balls inches off the sand and set up their teammates for thundering attacks.
Prince Edward Island’s beach volleyball training team has been practising outdoors at the Terry Fox Sports Complex courts since June. They have already had 39 events as they compete to be the Island’s representatives at the 2021 Canada Games in the Niagara Region of Ontario.
“I want to learn the game and we have to do it in the morning to work around our work schedules,” explained Abby Hyndman.
The 19-year-old Charlottetown native played indoor volleyball at Colonel Gray High School and with the Red Rock club and has been a member of the Holland College Hurricanes for the past two seasons.
She is teaming with Mary Lowther, a 19-year-old Cornwall native, on the beach court. Lowther, a Bluefield High School graduate and UNB student, also played club with Hyndman and the two represented Team P.E.I. at the 2017 Canada Games in Winnipeg on the indoor volleyball court.
They are one of the six two-player squads that comprise the training team.
“The level of commitment of this group has been phenomenal,” said coach Lynn Boudreau. “I have been absolutely blown away.”
A look at the teams competing to represent Prince Edward Island in beach volleyball at the 2021 Canada Games in the Niagara Region of Ontario:
- Morgan White, Charlottetown, and Julia Henry, Souris.
- Alina Crockett, Stratford, and Claire Davis, Charlottetown.
- Libby Smith, Pleasant Grove, and Jenna Cyr, Stratford.
- Monica Gollaher, Charlottetown, and Marie Fogarty, Charlottetown.
- Ella Hickey, Charlottetown, and Seven McHatten, Morell.
- Mary Lowther, Cornwall, and Abby Hyndman, Charlottetown.
With some of the players also training with the indoor volleyball team, a schedule has been created to ensure the athletes have some downtime.
Some of the teams have been playing beach for three summers while Hyndman and Lowther are new to the sport this year.
“I’ve always wanted to try beach and didn’t really have the opportunity,” Hyndman said.
The teams have been playing weekly in Slammin’ Saturday tournaments at the Cornwall courts to gain game experience. It includes the training teams but also some other squads have entered to provide them with more competition.
“We don’t have the history of touches and game play, so they’ve been really good (for) us,” Lowther said.
This week’s action runs from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with a limited number of spectators permitted due to COVID-19 restrictions.
While the premise is the same indoors or on the beach, there are differences – namely going from six players on the indoor courts to two outside. There are also smaller courts outside where the wind plays a factor and the scoring is different.
“I find indoors is more of a power game and this is more playing smart and placing your shots,” Hyndman said.
The players have to be very athletic as they have a ton of ground to cover in sand.
“With (beach) I find you really have to be able to do,” Hyndman said, before Lowther and her simultaneously say “everything.”