By Phoebe Berkeley
Members of the Glashan Public School boy’s volleyball team are celebrating their third consecutive Ontario elementary school championship.
The annual Provincial Cup tournament was held in early November at various sites in and around Brampton and Mississauga.
Murat Erlik, the coach of the team, said the victory is particularly special because the three consecutive wins are a first in the history of the tournament, which saw 30 teams from across the province compete for this year’s boy’s title.
Erlik said that this is also — remarkably — Glashan’s 16th Provincial Cup win since 1980, a record of genuine sporting dominance for the Grade 7 and 8 school on Arlington Avenue, near the corner of Catherine and Kent streets in Centretown.
Erlik has been coaching and teaching at Glashan since 2009. He is a former student and was a volleyball player at Glashan himself during his middle school days. Erlik said that the sport teaches the students about dedication and passion.
“The experience is life altering. What the kids learn on the volleyball court is exactly what they need to have off the court: hard work, dedication, sacrifice, and resilience,” said Erlik.
To keep the team motivated, Erlik said he sets three goals for the volleyball program.
“We aim to win the Provincials, win the Board Champions and go undefeated. These goals assist the team to continue to have passion for the game,” said Erlik.
The captain of the volleyball team, Baxter Scholberg, was ecstatic about winning the tournament.
“When we won the provincial cup, it felt like all of our work hard work had paid off, coming to practice before and after school, spending my lunches in the gym and practising for a total of more than 400 hours. It felt like we were truly champions,” he said.
Baxter said interest in the sport runs in his family.
“I got into volleyball because my mother would play. When I was young my mother registered me for volleyball camps and that’s when I developed my love for the game,” he said.
Marko Youngson, the co-captain of the volleyball team said that he loves volleyball because of the intense nature of the game.
“The thing I love most about volleyball is the intensity. When I first step on the court I blank out. Everything becomes quiet until the first serve. After that, every point is like the last. When the two teams are close to each other in score, it becomes the most intense,” he said.
The boys team practises almost every day and sometimes up to four times a day. Erlik said the key is encouraging a strong work ethic.
“The approach I take with respect to coaching is giving the athletes as much time as I can give them in the gym. In addition, when we are in the gym, we are working hard, we always try to simulate game situations,” he said.
The school has a track record of producing players who excel at higher levels of the sport.
“Many of our players have continued with playing volleyball at their respective high schools. As well, many have played for club volleyball programs across the city,” said Erlik. “Also, we have had many players play at the university and college levels.”
Baxter said he plans to sign up for high school volleyball next year at Glebe Collegiate Institute.
“I love volleyball because I am able to play with my friends and family,” he said. “Also the sport has made me meet a lot of people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. It has also been a very large part of my life.”
Up next for the team are the Ottawa-area championships on Jan. 19.