Paige Noakes, left, and Emma Binns lead the Fulton Maroons into their eight-team home senior AA volleyball tournament Friday. (Abbey Hughes Photo)

Paige Noakes, left, and Emma Binns lead the Fulton Maroons into their eight-team home senior AA volleyball tournament Friday. (Abbey Hughes Photo)

Fulton Maroons learn from former national teamer

Senior AA girls volleyball tournament opens Friday at Fulton

Abbey Hughes

Fulton Athletics

Looking outside, there is evidence of the changing seasons. Leaves are colourful and falling, temperatures are now brisk and the lake has lost that warm summer glow.

This changing comparison can also be made indoors; within the four walls of the Clarence Fulton Secondary gymnasium.

The athletes of seasons past are gone, and a new day has arrived for today’s Maroons, who have had a great start to their season. They have played every game like it’s their last; hitting to win and fighting for every point.

This year’s senior girls’ volleyball team is coached by veteran Sharon Shaigec, or “Shaggy” as she is known to the girls. She is a former player with the Canadian national team and a powerhouse in her own right.

Shaigec and her team played their first tournament of the season in Kamloops at the Westsyde Whundas Play Day with three wins and one loss. The tournament at Thompson Rivers University followed with three wins and three losses. The ladies also played in the Best of the West tournament and showed three wins and three losses.

Fulton opens their home tournament Friday at 11:30 a.m. against the Westsyde Whundas of Kamloops. There are eight teams in the tourney with the Maroons facing the Princess Margaret Mustangs of Penticton at 2 p.m. and battling the George Elliot Coyotes of Lake Country at 5:45 p.m.

The VSS Panthers, Kalamalka Lakers and Valleyview Vikings and Sa-Hali Sabres, both of Kamloops, round out the field. The finals go on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Emma Binns is a Fulton senior and is fit and came to the gym ready for this season. She is a Grade 12 student finishing her high school career the way she started it: as a Maroon. She is six-feet and has a monster block. Emma’s inspiration to play volleyball came from none other than her coach of today, Sharon Shaigec, who has a love for the game that is contagious.

Emma really admires the teaching and role modelling that Shaigec has provided her throughout her years at Fulton.

Every player has their struggles. Binns has the tendency to get too much into her head. When a mistake is made by her or the team, Emma tends to shoulder the responsibility and she unravels emotionally in her head. Binns has identified this trait within herself and is working on it.

“Emma has so much potential as a player,” said Shaigec. “She is doing all the right things to make it to the next level and learning to accept mistakes individually or as a team.”

Binns is also looked up to by her teammates.

Said power hitter Paige Noakes: “We have a great group of girls. In games, tough times come and we can always bring each other up when we hit a rough patch. Emma has a big part in that with her energy and enthusiasm, not to mention her killer serve that helps us the rack up the points”

Binns is playing middle for the Maroons who are competing at the AA level again this season. Last year, she also played winter club volleyball for the Junior Heat, which is the UBCO club side.

Binns hopes to make the Heat again this club season. Her drive to continue in volleyball is fed by her love for “the team”, the energy you feel when you get a kill, and her desire to always improve.

Emma Binns was once that junior player who struggled to get her serve over the net. She has persevered and improved, and as a result, she is now acing her serves and is a dominant force.

Congratulations Emma and the Maroons as you undergo your own season of change.