Short Serves - Maura Hayes
Attending major competitions outside the Province of NL is so important for elite athletes, as Maura Hayes can attest. Maura continues to play for the Ascension Astro midget volleyball team, however during last season they attended the Eastern Canadian Midget Championships. As a direct result of that competition, and a fourth place finishing, Maura was identified as an Elite National caliber athlete. Following this initial identification, Maura attended the National Youth identification camp and was selected as one of 15 athletes to travel and represent Canada as part of the Youth National Team, no easy feat. To add to this accolade, Maura was the only participant named to this roster, from any Province east of Quebec.
On July 11th, Maura departed for Gainesville, Florida, where she would spend the next two weeks training twice a day and scrimmaging against the United States Youth Team. Part of this training also included participating in a High Performance Volleyball Tournament in Fort Lauderdale. This young Canadian Team would participate against athletes one year older than themselves and two years older in Maura's case. As a result, this tournament was held in high regard as a great lead up tournament to the NORCECA Championships.
During this training phase Maura explains that playing time was fairly even distributed among team members however when the NORCECA Championships began Maura was given a starting Left Side position. This is a true testament to her hard work and dedication to her beloved sport. At this event Maura competed against National Teams from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Honduras, USA, and the Dominican Republic. Even though the team finished fourth overall, Maura states that it was "an incredible experience". She also claims that, "the players were big, the attitudes were incredible, and great friendships developed." She states with pride that, "standing and hearing the national Anthem from your country before you play is an awesome experience", and one Maura hopes to hear again next year.