By Sheri Duff
A new sport has been added to Champlain Valley Union (CVU) athletics, thanks to the efforts of two new Vermonters. Midwesterners, and current CVU seniors, Lisa Schold and Brianna Hake, are responsible for introducing volleyball to their high school classmates.
A transplant from Madison, Wisc., Hake and her family moved to the CVU district when she was 15 years old. “Lisa and I met during Nordic skiing two years ago. We bonded over the fact that we both moved to Vermont from midwestern states and that we had previously played volleyball,” Hake explained.
Disappointed to learn that her new high school did not offer the sport, Hake took matters into her own hands. “We had a huge volleyball community back in Madison. Before we moved here, I was playing year-round,” she noted. “Even though a neighbor invited me to join an adult pick-up volleyball league, it just wasn’t the same. I really wanted to play with my friends.”
It took perseverance, but Hake found a way. “The most difficult part of starting a club sport was finding a coach,” she said. “Fortunately I was able to talk my mom into signing on as the volunteer coach.” And with that, a volleyball team inched a step closer to reality.
“Brianna was doing everything she could to bring volleyball to CVU. It showed me how much she really wanted it,” Poulsen explained. “As a Physical Education teacher and past coach, I agreed to take on the coaching responsibilities for one year.”
Schold contacted long-time Vermont Commons School volleyball coach Peter Goff to conduct a clinic for interested students last spring. “We thought if Coach Goff came over with his team it would raise interest,” shared Hake. “And it did. Of course we didn’t expect that many people to show up.”
After the clinic, everything fell into place. The Vermont Principal’s Association (VPA) added volleyball as an exhibition sport for the next two years. Jeff Boliba and Gino Johnson came forward as volunteer coaches. And finally, there was enough interest to form a girls and a boys team of 22 and 16 respectively.
“Even though we had enough athletes to divide into a varsity and junior varsity team, it was decided that everyone would play together. That way everyone could rotate in, receive adequate playing time, and have the opportunity to improve,” said Hake.
Nearly through an 11-game regular season schedule, both teams stand in second place, according to the VPA website. State volleyball championships will take place Friday and Saturday, Nov. 8-9, at Johnson State College.
“Although not fully sanctioned, this is the first step for volleyball to become a varsity sport at CVU,” said Athletic Director Kevin Riell. “Upon completion of these two year, volleyball will be considered for sanctioning. It’s the same way football became a varsity sport back in 2005”, he said.
“Overall this has been a good experience,” Hake observes. “I’m pretty excited about leaving such a nice legacy for CVU.”