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Heat adds another element for beach volleyball players at Canada Games

Tynan Murphy prepares to return the ball during beach volleyball action Sunday at the Canada Games in Winnipeg.
Tynan Murphy prepares to return the ball during beach volleyball action Sunday at the Canada Games in Winnipeg.

WINNIPEG, MAN. – Island volleyball players were looking for ways to beat the heat Sunday as the temperature soared and they played some of the best athletes in the country.

It was not your traditional day at the beach.

Laura Ready and Haley Wilting make up Team P.E.I.’s women’s volleyball team at the Canada Games in Winnipeg while Ethan Boyd and Tynan Murphy are the men’s squad.

They both lost two games in straight sets Sunday on the opening day of the competition.

“It was insanely hot out here,” Boyd said. “The first game was exhausting. It feels like your body is starting to shut down halfway through the game.”

The weather has been a common topic of conversation during the first few days of the Games.

Wilting said the weather has an impact on the athletes’ ability to play with traditional highs of around 25C in Prince Edward Island compared to the mercury hitting 30C or more in Winnipeg this weekend. With the humidity factored in, it felt about 10 degrees warmer.

“Definitely not use to that heat. They have certain spots for shade, which is nice, but (the heat) drains ya,” Wilting said. “We can train mentally, we can train physically, but we can’t train for heat.”

Wilting said she didn’t really notice the heat while playing a set, but it became evident in the brief moments between the end of one play and the next serve.

Charlottetown's Laura Ready was all over the court Sunday digging and returning balls during the first day of action at the Canada Games in Winnipeg.

Monday is expected to be another hot day before there is a break in the heat. A few people pointed out on Monday that the hot weather did have the added bonus of keeping the mosquitos away during the day.

The players agreed the weather was the same for all athletes and are enjoying the venues, Games and being apart of Team P.E.I.

“This is just beautiful,” said Wilting, a 20-year-old Meadowbank resident who played indoor volleyball at the 2013 Games in Sherbrooke, Que. “For the opening ceremonies, I felt like I was an Olympian.”

Boyd, a 17-year-old Summerside native, is in his first year playing beach volleyball and is the youngest competitor in the field. P.E.I.’s men’s team lost 21-13, 21-10 to British Columbia and 21-15, 21-13 to Alberta.

“I thought we established ourselves. Now teams know we can play here,” he said. “I’m happy with the way we played. A couple of breakdowns here and there, but that’s to be expected.”

After playing two of the expected stronger teams in the tournament on Opening Day, P.E.I. is preparing for today’s action against an experienced Nova Scotia squad at 7 p.m. Atlantic.

“I think we definitely showed we’re knocking on the door to be right there with these bigger provinces,” said Murphy, a 19-year-old Montague native.

P.E.I.’s women’s team lost 21-8, 21-12 to Ontario and 21-10, 21-8 to Nova Scotia.

Whilting credited Ready for making some great players during the day.

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