What do you do when you have a great group of girls in their final club season with an amazing club! You go to California for the trip of a lifetime of course!
Hermosa Beach, California was the venue for the Titans 18’s High Performance Training Camp Feb. 8-12. The five day trip was filled with unique training opportunities and experiences…. perfect to help the team prepare for their final push towards their goal of winning a Provincial and National Championship.
The nine girls that made the trip (Sam had to stay behind for Rugby Canada Tryouts for Youth Olympic team) stayed in their own Beach Cottage, literally 15 feet from the beautiful sands of Hermosa. With all nine girls in one cottage, it was definitely a team-building exercise in itself to manage themselves, on their own, without parents or coaches.
Here is a list of some of the amazing experiences the team had:
- UCLA Bruins vs Concordia NCAA men’s match in Irvine, to support former Scarborough Titan turned Bruin, Daenan Gyimah, aka Kofi_Kid. He had a great game and was excited to see somebody from home!
- Mini Beach tourney on the deep sands of Hermosa with Team Norway, 18’s girls and boys teams in town!
- Mini IndoorTourney with three teams from LAVA (Los Angeles Volleyball Academy) up in Santa Clarita – an hour north of LA.
- Indoor Clinic/Scrimmage with Team Norway in Carson City at the Mizuno Long Beach club facility. Norway has a touring team from Norway’s TopVolley program.
- Tour of USC and Galen Athletic Center and Hall of Fame by head beach volleyball coach Anna Collier. A lunch on-campus as well as a visit to the USC bookstore for team USC sweatshirts! We also met the USC Women’s Beach Volleyball Team as they trained at Manhattan Beach – Rosecrans beach courts. Our very own assistant coach, Sophie Bukovec, was a Trojan for three years and won three NCAA Championships, and trained with the team that day as our team soaked up the sun and atmosphere of being around a high level training environment.
- Bike rental excursion – a beautiful morning team ride up the coast from the bottom of Hermosa Beach, up “The Strand”, to the top of Manhattan Beach. Some near collisions with some of the girls not used to riding a “cruiser”, but we survived! It was definitely a highlight of the trip to see firsthand the active beach community of LA West.
- Morning beach run on Hermosa Beach (the girls really loved the 8 am session in the deep sand), and regular sightings of USA/Canadian beach Olympians training right outside our doorstep, e.g. Heather Bansley, Ben Saxton, Jake Gibb, Sean Rosenthal.
- Drives/Visits to Newport Beach and Santa Monica Beach
- Two sessions with Sunshine Volleyball Club teams, 18’s and 17’s Westside in Santa Monica, and 18’s and 17’s South Bay in Manhattan Beach.
- Visit to Hollywood sign, Hollywood Walk of Stars, Rodeo Drive and surrounding Beverly Hills mansions (no movie star sightings though!).
- USC vs BYU men’s NCAA match – an amazing match won by BYU!
- AND regular trips to Brother Burrito and Paesano’s Pizza for quick refuel – which was right around the corner from our Beach Cottage!
Other memories include: Sophie’s triple/triple burger, Kate and Jaimie running in the parking lot, the flash mob at USC, Bear/Hunter/Princess, Christophe’s dance in the store, Sunshine players questions about Canada, team dark van’s only “victory”, the beach sand setting for our team meeting, Cheesecake factory’s Salted Caramel Cheesecake, Christophe’s six-point turns, Christophe’s yellow USC hat, Tyneille face after breaking the net with a spike at Sunshine scrimmage, Café Bonaparte morning coaches meetings, the silliness and giggling sounds coming from the girls beach cottage until the wee hours of the morning.
We jammed a ton of fun and volleyball into 5 amazing days. The girls left for LA already with the reputation of being amazing teammates and a tight-knit family, but the trip took it a step further, and they return to Canada even more committed to each other and the sisterhood they have developed over the last seven years. When we returned back to reality, however, we had some catching up to do with homework and family. At Thursday’s practice we all agreed that we had what we were calling the “Hermosa hangover”. What do you expect when you come back from a place that can only be described as “volleyball heaven”!
Overall, the trip was a success, and now that we have fully recovered from the trip, we feel ready to tackle the last few months of our season, where we hope to lay it all on the line to finish our club careers with a bang!