Volleyball duo off to Western event
If nothing else, Vernon volleyball products Danny Aspenlieder and Troy Atkinson thought they would get in a good summer volleyball camp.
They got that and more.
The pair, both 16, were named to B.C.’s U17 boy’s volleyball squad that competes this weekend at the Western Elite championships in Edmonton, featuring the provincial teams from the four western provinces.
“Going into it, there were a couple of levels to the tryouts, and I was thinking I’d make the first level and get a good camp for the summer,” said Atkinson, a six-foot-four right side hitter going into Grade 11 at Seaton Secondary.
“I didn’t expect to make the provincial team, but I played really well and really felt like I earned a spot. It’s been fun spending a month here (Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops) playing volleyball.”
Added the six-foot-five, left-side hitter Aspendlieder, who plays cross-town at Fulton Secondary: “It’s a great achievement. I’ve worked really hard to get better and to try out for this team. To make it feels really great. The tryouts were intense but probably the most fun I’ve had this year.”
Rivals in school, but teammates with the Vernon Volleyball Club, the hitting duo have been friends since mid-elementary school, when they played rep soccer together.
The two then joined the club volleyball scene, culminating with their selection to the provincial squad.
“At first I was shocked I made the team because there were a lot of good players at the camp,” said Atkinson. “When they told me, Danny was right beside me and we were both very happy and very excited to have made the team.”
The competition in Edmonton will be, well, elite – hence the name – but the Vernon pair thinks B.C. will be in the hunt for gold.
“I think one of our strongest assets is defence and turning that into an attack and transition kill,” said Aspenlieder. “Our blocking is very good.”
Added Atkinson: “Our team is very well-rounded. Our coach (Nathan Bennett) has said there’s no real starting lineup.”