In Averi Gill, the Olds College (Alberta) Broncos are getting an excited, albeit nervous, middle blocker for their women’s volleyball team.
Gill, 18, who will graduate with her Pleasant Valley Secondary School classmates in Armstrong this year in some kind of alternative fashion due to COVID-19, has signed to continue her career with the Broncos at a campus she has never seen or visited.
“I put myself out there to a bunch of colleges through email and their coach (Rhonda Schmuland) emailed me back almost right away,” said Gill, on a break from her job as a clerk at Askew’s Foods. “I talked to her a few times and I really liked the communication we had. She seems like a great coach.”
Gill is a five-foot-11 middle who captained the Pleasant Valley Sinners for two years, helping them finish third at the 2019 North Zone Senior Girls AA championships to qualify for the Okanagan Valley finals.
She has also played club volleyball for Vernon’s SKY Club since she was 13. Gill helped her club team win bronze at nationals in 2019, where she was named Player of the Wave for the tournament.
“We are thrilled to have Averi join our 2020-2021 roster,” said Schmuland. “Her competitive nature, desire for growth, and pursuit of excellence will be a great addition to our culture. As a middle blocker, both her block and attack will add depth to our roster in that position.”
Shmuland and her staff have been busy rebuilding a roster that loses five players to graduation, and is coming off a tough 2-22 season in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference’s South Division, which included losing their final 21 matches.
“We are anticipating a fantastic season with continued growth and success,” said Schmuland. Gill has already heard from pretty much every player on the team.
“They’ve all been very welcoming and I already have made some great friends,” said Gill, who is looking forward to getting her college career started – hopefully – in the fall. “I am excited to continue my passion of volleyball with the Broncos, and nervous at the same time, but I’m sure I’ll be fine when I get out there. I am excited to be a part of another community while learning my way around these new opportunities.”
She credits her mom and dad, Laura and Scott, high school coach Cody Fox and club coach Kyle Brewer, along with her teammates, for helping her continue her love of volleyball.
Gill plans to study toward a business diploma in sports management.
Other teams in the seven-team ACAC South include Ambrose University, Lethbridge College, SAIT, Red Deer College, Medicine Hat College and Briercrest College.