Firecracker sparks Eden in Zone final
Kaity Doyle is clearly the leader of the Eden Flyers senior girls volleyball team.
“She’s a firecracker,” Eden head coach Bill Markham said Thursday, moments after the Flyers recorded a 3-1 (25-17, 25-14, 21-25 and 25-12) victory over the visiting West Niagara Wolfpack in the Niagara Region High School Athletic Association Zone 4 AAA final.
“She can really hit a ball hard, you saw her jump serve which is outstanding and she is really the heartbeat of this team.”
Doyle was chosen to be the team captain for more than her impressive skills.
“It’s her passion. She rallies the girls around her and she is just a leader,” Markham said. “She is part of a really high performance training regimen and is with Team Ontario. We are fortunate to have her on our squad.”
Doyle laughed when told Markham described her as a firecracker.
“I am pretty energetic and I bring up the team sometimes.”
The 17-year-old describes herself as a vocal leader.
“I like to make sure the team is all one and I keep everyone in touch.”
Eden volleyball is very important to her.
“It is more like the team atmosphere and it is like a second family,” the Grade 12 student said.
The 5-foot-8 outside hitter likes how Eden looks heading to the Southern Ontario Secondary Schools Association championships.
“I think we are going to do really good.”
The travel team member of the Hamilton Smash Raiders played with Team Ontario last summer and will suit up with the squad this March in British Columbia. She has already committed to a volleyball scholarship at Western and would look to end her school career on a high.
“Last year we didn’t have OFSAA (Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations) and I think that is where my drive comes from. I want to finish off with a bang.”
She feels she had made steady progression in her game.
“I have become more of a physical leader on the court. I will come out and try and score points because I play that role on the team.”
Eden, which defeated West Niagara 3-1 in league play Dec. 22, finished 6-1 in the regular season while West Niagara was 5-2. The Flyers also won the Governor Simcoe tourney.
Markham complimented West Niagara on its performance in the zone final.
“They fought and I know they have lost a couple of players from their squad so that was a very good effort on their part.”
The Flyers made some mistakes Thursday but Markham likes where Eden is heading into SOSSA.
“We are finally starting to get the right chemistry and I think that we are close. We are going to have to do a few more tweaks to get ready for SOSSA.”
He’s certainly not overconfident.
“We are triple A and SOSSA is going to be difficult but I am just hoping that we play our best ball. We can’t control outcomes but we can control our side. If our girls play solid, we are going to be really tough to beat. I am proud of how these girls have come around.”
The SOSSA championship will be held next Friday at Notre Dame.
Members of the zone championship team are Ella Landry, Roxy Lewis, Reese Vanderkooy, Doyke, Ava Klassen, Kiara Vansteekelenburg, Hannah Bennet, Allie Schultz, Hannah Seo, Emma Richardson, Mackenna Vanderwal, Maxine Felsbourg, Lily Felsbourg, Sara Hepworth, Olivia Davidson and Anna Harmsworth and Iye Ogunkeye.
West Niagara head coach Mark Mitchell was pleased with his team’s season.
“We have a great group of girls,” he said. “They have all represented West Niagara well in our first season as West Niagara. You can’t ask for a better season that going down to a great team like Eden, fighting well and taking a set off of them.”
The future looks bright for West Niagara volleyball.
“We have a strong group of Grade 11s and they will be a big part of our senior team next year as Grade 12s. Five of our six starters on the court today were in Grade 11 which is great,” Mitchell said.
One big loss for the Wolfpack will be senior captain Sidney MacDonald.
“She is definitely the leader of the team.”