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Amanda Kring earns volleyball Player of the Year honours

Much of the city's elite female volleyball talent gathered Thursday night at the Caruso Club, site of the ninth annual Northern Chill Evening of Excellence.
Amanda Kring was named as Player of the Year at Amanda Kring was named as Player of the Year. Photo by Randy Pascal.
Much of the city's elite female volleyball talent gathered Thursday night at the Caruso Club, site of the ninth annual Northern Chill Evening of Excellence.

In addition to the standard graduation of the 18U Class of 2014, the soirée also included the very first official 13U team in Chill club history.

Wrapping up an evening filled with awards and highlights, soon-to-be Cambrian Golden Shield left-side Amanda Kring was named as Player of the Year, quite the jump from her earliest days of volleyball involvement at C.R. Judd Public School in Capreol.

"When I first started out, I was very scared and nervous," said Kring at the end of the night. "But I just thought if I worked hard, I could do it. I always wanted to follow in my brother's footsteps."

The award punctuated a five-year career with the Chill, one that Kring hopes has well prepared her for the rigours of OCAA West Division play.

"Competitively, it was a lot different in 18U," she said.

"But throughout the years, I've found that it's the same for me, in that I think if I just push, push, push, I'll keep improving. I knew that I needed to improve on being stronger, being able to stay up with the bigger and stronger girls."

While the Cambrian door opens ahead, the Chill door closes behind, carrying with it a flood of special memories.

"Sitting in the hotel room, having a fun time with the girls, being silly and just being ourselves," recalled Kring.

"And then being on the court, celebrating every point, screaming and cheering."

For 17U star Megan Labrash, there is still one more season of club competition ahead. Another product of the C.R. Judd female volleyball factory, Labrash was presented with the Chill Award, recognizing the athlete with "an unwavering desire to succeed and unbridled passion for the game of volleyball," among other attributes.

A very familiar face within the Chill family, Labrash thoroughly enjoyed her jump to the 17U ranks.

"It's definitely a different level of play, but we've been playing together for so long, it didn't really feel that much different," said Labrash.

"It was really nice to have 'Mr. T' (coach Craig Thomson) back, because I've been waiting a while for him."

Like so many of the driven young ladies in attendance, Labrash is targeting the possibility of continuing her playing days beyond the local high school league, knowing that refinements in her game can make all the difference in the world.

"Being more aggressive," she said. "I'm not very assertive out there, so that's probably something I need to work on — as well as my composure, just so that I don't freak out, and I'm able to execute what I know that I can do."

Following is a complete listing of the award winners:

Chill 13U
Coach's Award - Dara Desrochers
Most Improved Award - Natasha Foucault
Most Improved Award - Jaime Schweyer
Fitness Award - Isabelle Moreau
Award of Excellence - Geneviève Gauthier

Chill 14U
Coach's Award - Mikaela Richter
Most Improved Award - Kayla Murray
Most Valuable Award - Marissa Beeson
Fitness Award - Lexi Johnson
Award of Excellence - Brooke Smith

Chill 15U
Coach's Award - Hailey Mauro
Most Improved Award - Brooke Whitteker
Most Valuable Award - Taylor Wilkinson
Fitness Award - Hailey Mauro
Award of Excellence - Teagan Langis

Chill 16U
Coach's Award - Erica Thibault
Most Improved Award - Cayley Barbeau
Most Valuable Award - Gabrielle Huneault
Fitness Award - Colleen Bocy
Award of Excellence - Roberta Dolling-Boreman

Chill 17U
Coach's award - Julia Lamarche
Most Improved Award - Hannah Malinski
Most Valuable Award - Amanda Rigg
Fitness Award - Shayna Graham

Chill 18U
Coach's Award - Lauren Kyle
Most Improved Award - Alandria Czerkas
Most Valuable Award - Kelsey Pitre
Fitness Award - Jillian Vallier

Club Awards
President's Award - Kim Wandziak
The "One to Watch" Award - Christina Rorison
Chill Award - Megan Labrash
Player of the Year Award - Amanda Kring