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Amy Connelly jumping through the roof to get started at Nipissing

Her abilities in the high-jump initially put Amy Connelly on the map.

Her abilities in volleyball would ultimately lead the Confederation Secondary School product to the next level.

The reality is that the skill-set that the 5'10" middle with the Northern Chill Volleyball Club possesses is somewhat interwoven, the very foundation of a post-secondary prospect who committed to the Nipissing Lakers OUA program earlier this month.

"I had a good vertical in volleyball, so that helped me in the high jump," said Connelly, who captured a bronze medal at the 2017 OFSAA Track & Field Championships, as well as a silver medal, at the same event, in 2019.

"We did vertical training specifically in volleyball, but they both help each other."

Connelly had kicked some tires with regards to possibly pursuing both athletic endeavours at the next level, but with the seasonal cross-over between the two, it became time to choose. "I like track, but I love volleyball," she said.

"I love being part of a team, so I chose volleyball."

Apparently, her fondness for the sport was evident at the time of her campus visits. "What really stood out to me after meeting Amy for the first time was her obvious passion for the game," stated Nipissing head coach Marc LaRochelle, cited in a media release on the Lakers' website.

"She loves to play, practice and learn and this, combined with her athleticism and dynamic jumping ability, will make her a fun player to watch in the future."

Larochelle also noted the versatility of his incoming recruit, who has largely been slotted as a middle during her time with the Chill, but is more than open to other options.

"I would love to try left side or right side, but my (Chill) coaches have played me as middle," said Connelly. "Since I have been a middle, I don't normally pass or play the back row, so I ready had to work on being able to jump as high as I can and hit as hard as I can to score points, get big blocks and stuff."

"I will need to work on my quickness and speed," Connelly continued. "I get a lot of blocks at the level I am at right now, but as you move up, the game gets faster. I am pretty good at picking out where I need to go, so I just need to work on the footwork and stuff."

With her plans set to study Psychology in the fall, the three year veteran of club volleyball play is raring to go. "I am excited," she said. "I know it will be harder. For a middle, I am only 5'10", and some of the middles will be 6'2" or more."

"But I am just so excited to learn and get better. Obviously, I am used to playing, and even though I probably won't get as much playing time, I want to work as hard as I can to get playing time. I know at the start, I probably won't play, but as the season goes on, I hope to prove myself to get playing time."

As for her anticipation of this next challenge in her career, apparently the buzz is spreading throughout the house.

"That was one of the reasons I really considered going to Nipissing, because it is so close to home," said Connelly. "It will be easy for my family to come and watch me."

Because whether it be on the high-jump runway or the volleyball court, Amy Connelly has grown accustomed to being watched.

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