Nora Soenens is developing her volleyball repertoire. "Last year, I was setter, then middle, and now power this year," noted the 13 year old graduate of grade 8 at Ecole Secondaire Macdonald-Cartier.
"I find hitting out of power easier for me. I have a shot that goes deep and not straight down, because I can't jump as high as other people," she explained. A fairly natural athlete with background in soccer (since age three), basketball and volleyball at elementary school, Soenens was in her second year with the Chill U14 squad in 2012-2013, one of three returning vets.
"There were less nerves," she said. "I was more relaxed and confident." The combination of greater experience against tougher competition, combined with the knowledge that accumulated in playing a variety of positions, really started to show dividends in Soenens last year.
"I got a lot better on my volleys as a setter, and it forced me to get my speed up." Standing 5'5" but with some height within the family genetics, the freshman at Lockerby Composite is hoping for another growth spurt, a clear-cut benefit when it comes to play at the net.
"I was tall for my age, but not anymore," she said with a smile. "Everybody has passed me now." Introduced to the notion of playing club volleyball with the Northern Chill while attending a Kabuum summer volleyball camp, Soenens has no regrets to date with the added commitment in her life.
"I like how it's a family and everyone is there to help out," she noted. "You learn a lot more." With a rotation in place for the floor captains on the Chill U14 team last year, Soenens acknowledged some mixed feelings as she undertook the role in a tournament in Newmarket.
"I was a little nervous," she conceded. "But I found that I did really well and I was on my game. As captain, you have to get the team together, make sure that everyone is ready, and walk into the gym as a team."
Chill U-14 Girls
"I like how it's a family and everyone is there to help out... You learn a lot more."