Kingston’s two competitive volleyball clubs are amalgamating this summer. This week, Kingston Volleyball Club and Pegasus Volleyball Club announced the merger and the new name: Kingston Rock Volleyball Club.
“About a year ago, both clubs realized that we were trying to do the same thing, heading in the same direction,” said co-president Brenda Willis, and who was previously the president of Pegasus Volleyball Club. “Initially, we were one group, and about four years ago, two groups went in different directions. Kingston Volleyball Club wanted to be more about high performance, and that forced Pegasus to really up our game to do a bit better. But we realized we were splitting the talent and resource pool in Kingston.”
Willis is hopeful that the new club will make Kingston a more desirable destination for competitive players and coaches.
“This will take away the anxiety we were seeing about which club to play for,” said Willis in a phone interview on Friday, Jun. 21, 2019. “All the coaches we’ve spoken with think it’s great, saying that they are more inclined to get involved because they won’t have to worry about the politics between the two clubs.”
In a statement, former Kingston Volleyball Club president and now Kingston Rock Volleyball Club co-president, Matt Somerville, was enthusiastic about the opportunities the new club will provide.
“Our merger makes sense on many levels and we will work together to ensure there is not only no drop in competitive opportunities in our Ontario Volleyball Association rep. programs, but rather, that we grow the sport and offer additional programming,” he said.
“Given the size of the Kingston volleyball community, we weren’t serving the athletes properly,” said Willis. “Both clubs met and made sure we were on the same page. The philosophies around athlete development are very much unanimous. I think it will make Kingston volleyball stronger on the provincial stage. We are all committed to coach- and athlete-development and recruitment.”
While Willis is quick to point out volleyball’s popularity, she acknowledges more can be done to get young players involved.
“Worldwide, only soccer has more participants than volleyball,” she said. “We could do better in terms of young players. There are so many leagues for adults, but we’re the only show in town for youth development. The new club will be running beach volleyball programs for youth, and we’ll be introducing smashball for elementary schools, which is kind of like spiking on low nets. There’s no jumping involved. If we can get kids into volleyball at 11 or 12, we can have them ready for U14 competitions across the province. It’s typically a late-entry sport, and we have to compete with basketball, soccer, and hockey.”
Kingston Rock will be putting player- and coach-development at the forefront of the new organization. According to the statement, the new club “will operate with no less than five current or former University Head Coaches who are NCCP Performance Coach (former level 3) certified.”
“There aren’t many clubs coming together that can brag about having four level three coaches and a level four coach,” said Willis. “In terms of global athlete development, we’ll be one of the best clubs around.”
The new club becomes official on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019 with the fall indoor season being the first formal venture for the new organization. The current beach volleyball season under each KVC and Pegasus will continue unaffected. Players or coaches that are interested in joining the club can visit Kingstonrock.ca for more information.