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Bussard busting out as a volleyball athlete

It’s funny how things work out. When Jade Bussard first got into volleyball she did it in Grade 7 to be involved with her school mates, but she really didn’t like the sport. Now it’s what the 15-year-old Grade 10 Notre Dame student is setting her sights on for the future.

It’s funny how things work out.

When Jade Bussard first got into volleyball she did it in Grade 7 to be involved with her school mates, but she really didn’t like the sport.

Now it’s what the 15-year-old Grade 10 Notre Dame student is setting her sights on for the future.

“I really didn’t like it that much until this past summer,” she said. “And I really can’t say what happened but I began having a lot of fun. I enjoy the excitement when a team gets on a roll in a close game.”

Bussard has decided to drop several other sports, including basketball and hockey to concentrate on volleyball.

“This was my last year in hockey. It’s tough to play both sports and I feel I can go further in volleyball,” said the five-foot-11 outside hitter. “But it will be weird not playing (hockey) as I basically played it my whole life.”

Bussard, who played centre, was with the Red Deer Sutter Fund Chiefs midget A hockey team this season, finishing third on the team with six goals and four assists in 16 games. Last year she was with the bantam AAA Chiefs and tied for first in team scoring with 11 goals and a team high 12 assists.

Bussard, who was the St. Francis school female athlete of the year in 2014-15, also played badminton, field hockey and was involved in track and field. She plans on sticking with badminton and track in high school.

She has already shown a natural ability on the volleyball court. She played right side as a Grade 10 starter with the Notre Dame Cougars senior girls’ team, and moved to left side with the U16 Queens Extreme Volleyball Club team. She helped the Extreme win the 2016 Rallypointe tournament in Calgary and place third and seventh in the first two Premier tournaments on the Alberta circuit.

It was during the first Premier tournament that she caught the eye of the provincial U16 coaching staff and was invited to tryout with the team Saturday in Sylvan Lake.

Bussard is strong at the net, but also enjoys the other parts of the game.

“I love hitting, but playing on the left side I’m more involved in the back row, which I enjoy, plus I enjoy serving.”

Where she will play with the provincial team is up in the air.

“They haven’t said, but it doesn’t matter, although I do like the left side more … it will be fun.”

The club season runs to June, but that’s not the end for Bussard, who will team up with Jenna St-Pierre and play beach volleyball.

“It’s fun, plus it’s kind of weird with only two people,” she said. “But it definitely helps work on your defence and it makes you think. You also have to be able to set, which helps no matter where you play.”

In fact having played a number of sports over the years has helped Bussard.

“I noticed a lot of things from other sports help me in volleyball,” said the Alberta Sport Development Centre — Central female athlete of the month for March.

The one sport she didn’t play was baseball, a sport her father was outstanding at.

“He wanted me to,” she said with a laugh.

As for her future, she still has two years of high school before she has to decide, but hopes to play either college or university.

“But that’s a ways away, I have time to think about it.”

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