Prince Charles, Getting the Most Out Of Every Player

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What do you do when you have a seven man roster and one of you players suffers a torn ACL?

You find a couple of Grade 10s to fill out the roster and travel to the BC High School Provincial Championships to take on the best AA Senior Boys Volleyball teams in the province.

“If you’re breathing you make the team in Creston,” joked Mike Nelson, the school’s vice principal and 24-year veteran coach of the Prince Charles Secondary School Bulldogs.

He also added, having a small roster is both a good and a bad problem for a coach.

“You never have to worry about playing time,” Nelson Said. “But the bad part is, it’s easy for the guys to become complacent because they’re always on the floor.”

The Bulldogs enter the tournament the No. 1 seed in the Kootenays Region after knocking off both Invermere and Grande Forks.

The key to the Bulldogs success this year has been a familiarity between several of the players – a group of which whom Nelson has coached and worked with in some way since they were in Grade 7 – and Team BC player Mark Armstrong.

Nelson calls Armstrong the edge they have over a lot schools that are in the tournament.

“He’s obviously a threat to coach,” Nelson said. “He’s quiet, but over the years, he’s found his way to lead the team.”

Nelson also added that he feels Armstrong will be a University level player and that he really does settle everything down when he’s on the court.

“He stays so calm out there,” Nelson said. “Whatever he’s feeling on the inside, you certainly never see it on the outside.”

Armstrong cites his experience with Team BC at the National Team Challenge Cup over the summer as great preparation for this tournament. 

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“Playing them (Armstrong’s Team BC teammates) is really fun and it’s certainly friendly competition between us for sure,” Armstrong said as he smiled.

Nelson’s son, Davis and Matty Hills, have also been key components in the Bulldogs leadership by committee group of Grade 12s.

“The first game we kind of got pummelled, but since that game, we’ve gotten back on our feet and we’re playing well right now.”

Hills added that the team seems to play its best volleyball later in the day once the team gets going.

The Bulldogs won their first game against the Pacific Christian Pacers and play Abbotsford Christian this evening.

For the rest of Day-2’s results, CLICK HERE.

Author: Ian Esplen

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