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Coach George Dolomount says player commitment key to Titans impressive run

The Corner Brook Titans 4A female volleyball team have been a dominant force on the provincial level for over a decade. They have collected eight gold, four silver and one bronze in the last 13 appearances. Here, Alyssa Warford (4) goes up for the ball during the championship game against thew Queen Elizabeth Regional High Pioneers.
The Corner Brook Titans 4A female volleyball team have been a dominant force on the provincial level for over a decade. They have collected eight gold, four silver and one bronze in the last 13 appearances. Here, Alyssa Warford (4) goes up for the ball during the championship game against thew Queen Elizabeth Regional High Pioneers. - Keith Gosse

George Dolomount’s thoughts flowed when he talked about how the Corner Brook Titans have become a dynasty in provincial 4A female volleyball.

The Titans emerged as provincial 4A female volleyball champions by beating the Queen Elizabeth Regional High Pioneers in the championship game one week ago at Mount Pearl Senior High.

The Titans have appeared in the provincial 4A female volleyball championship final for 12 straight years. They have collected eight gold, and four silver during that dominant run. The Titans finished third in 2006, the birth year of Corner Brook High, making it 13 years in a row they finished in the top three teams.

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This year’s edition of the Titans features a group of talented players who Dolomount and his wife Jennifer coached for the previous four seasons on the hardcourt. Dolomount had to step aside from his coaching gig this season because he would laid up for a couple of months recovering from hip replacement. He asked Melissa Oates to take over the team this year in his absence and Oates jumped on board and took them to another championship run.

Throughout his 20-years plus of guiding young female athletes, Dolomount always stressed to his players that the coach provides the platform and knowledge for them to learn, but it’s totally up to them to make themselves better players.

It’s words of wisdom that struck a chord with his players, as evident by the talent and commitment level of the girls who have won championships over the past decade.

He believes the first key to the Titans turning into a volleyball dynasty starts with the players who put in the effort to achieve success.

“They’ve always displayed unbelievable commitment, work ethic and teamwork,” Dolomount said. “This is not unique to this particular group. I think this is characteristic of all the 4A Titans teams who have been successful in the past 12 years.”

Dolomount said dominance tends to feed itself and that young volleyball players at the junior high level have read so much and seen so much when it comes to the success of the Titans over the past years that it has motivated them to work harder and aim for bigger goals. He also noticed how a lot of former Titans ended up giving back to the sport by helping coach at the junior high level and this was always viewed as impressive by the youngsters following in their shoes.

“The young athletes idolize them and aspire to be just like them. It’s unbelievable,” he said, noting this motivating factor is why a lot of the players were willing to work extra hard by attending camps and adding beach volleyball to their training in an effort to put themselves in a good spot on the 4A squad when they got to high school.

Coaches play a role in how a team competes. Coaches also play a role in developing players by showing them how to be good teammates and good people.

Dolomount believes volleyball is in good hands in Corner Brook with a bunch of quality coaches at both the junior and senior high level who collaborate daily in an effort to grow the game and provide positive experiences for all the players involved.

He said Corner Brook is fortunate to have dedicated coaches like Finton Gaudette, Nathan Wareham and Melissa Oates sharing their expertise and wisdom. This trio has experience at the provincial development level and Canada Games and continue to share their expertise and serve as mentors to all the coaches in the area.

Gaudette, according to Dolomount, deserves a lot of credit for the growth of the game and the impressive skillset of players in the area because of the extra effort he’s put into the game over the years.

Gaudette formed a beach volleyball league for competitive and recreational athletes to keep a touch on the ball during the summer months. He also helped get a women’s volleyball league going in the city. Many of the high school and junior high players have played in the league against older players who have given them good competition.

That’s been great news for the Titans because finding difficult matches on the west coast has proven to be a challenge, according to Dolomount. He said the volleyball guru has always welcomed junior high and senior high teams into the women’s league to get meaningful competition and this certainly helped the Titans when they went on the floor for a shot at gold on the 4A stage.

“These women are excellent role models and they mentor these young athletes,” he said.

Alyssa Warford, a 17-year-old Level 3 student, has been a member of the Titans championship squad for the past two years. She believes the success of the Titans is largely due to the great bond the players develop both on and off the court.

“We’re all a team. Everybody is friends and everybody is there to help each other out,” Warford said. “We work hard to be good for each other and we’re always there to have each other’s backs, and that is a really strong thing that helps us be a good team and keeps us at that level.”

Being around good people and working together as a cohesive unit makes it easier for her to find her way to the gym, especially on the days she’s not all gung-ho for a hit on the ball.

Of course, Warford knows her squad, like so many before her time, had the benefit of having a handful of quality coaches dedicated to showing athletes how to be a quality player and individual so that’s something she believes factored into the dominance.

She heaped praise on coach Melissa Oates and assistant coach Jake Dillon for their commitment to the team this year.

“They’re both very positive people and they’re there to help you and get you at your best,” she said. “They will have fun with you and encourage you so it’s a good environment they set for the team.”

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