The 2018 senior volleyball season was full of ups and downs for R.D. Parker Collegiate athletics, but Gavin Alcock (Grade 12) and Hayley Sylvester (Grade 11) still managed to make the coaching staff proud.
Because of their impressive performances on and off the court, these students end the year on a high note by capturing athlete of the month status for December.
Sylvester is no stranger to this process, having earned the same title in November 2017 for junior volleyball.
Outside of helping the senior team obtain a Zone 11 championship in mid-November and an appearance at provincials later that month, Sylvester said this latest season gave her the opportunity to improve her skills and tighten up her sports psychology.
“I was emotional on the court and my coaches taught how to get away from that and not let anything bug me and play my own game,” she said. “So it’s better for me this year.”
According to Tairra Warren, who coached the senior girls’ team alongside Marnie Krentz, Sylvester’s tireless dedication is what made her an easy choice for athlete of the month.
“She’s constantly improving her game. Never missed a practice and if she did it would have been because she was very sick,” said Warren. “She has another year of volleyball to go and I anticipate her even coming out stronger and being a better volleyball player.”
While the senior boys’ team didn’t experience the same level of success as their female counterparts, losing in this year’s Zone 11 finals, coach Brad Williams said Alcock emerged as the squad’s “silent leader.”
“His work ethic is outstanding at practice and game time, but it is his time helping other teammates with their homework that catches the eye,” Williams said in an email to the Thompson Citizen. “He [is] a wonderful young man and our volleyball program will miss him, including his booming hits from left side.”
Even though his last season of RDPC volleyball was cut a little short, Alcock said he’s still thankful for the time he spent with his teammates and the bonds they built over the last four years.
“For any future player out there … don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone once and a while and have good chemistry with your teammates,” he said. “Because in the long run they’ll be a part of your future and that’s actually what made us a better team.”