CANMORE – Canmore’s Evvia Belireau has been serving up greatness this season.
Earlier this month, Volleyball Alberta named the 17-year-old libero its 2022 U18 female athlete of the year for a stream of grand accomplishments, including being selected for Team Alberta at the Canada Summer Games and for being a one-of-a-kind athlete and teammate.
“Getting to win this award, that was really cool because this is definitely never something I thought I could do coming from Canmore,” said Belireau. “I know a lot of players who have been playing a lot longer than I have and so it’s kind of a shock when I did win the award.
“[It] just pushes me every day to work harder to be able to play there and push myself as far as I can go.”
Coaches and teammates nominated Belireau for the award and spoke highly of the young athlete, whose presence is felt on and off the court.
Reid Brodie, Calgary Dinos women’s volleyball club executive director, has gotten to know Belireau over the past year after the teen committed to the University of Calgary this fall.
“She brightens every room she walks into with her happy demeanour and her support for her teammates is visible to everyone watching,” Brodie said. “She sets the tone for training, is competitive and is constantly looking for ways to improve her game.”
Volleyball Alberta said of Belireau: “On and off the court, her humility and work ethic are only some of her best qualities. She truly exemplifies what it means to be a high performance athlete and is one that Volleyball Alberta is immensely proud of.”
Over the past 12 months, the defensive specialist was soaking in every opportunity presented to her. She was invited to Volleyball Canada’s national excellence program and U21 training camp; she won silver with Team Alberta at the Canada Cup from July 21-24; and was named to Alberta’s squad for the upcoming Canada Summer Games. On top of it all, Belireau was recruited by the Dinos prior to her Grade 12 season – a rarity in volleyball.
At the Canada Cup in Calgary last weekend, Belireau and Team Alberta went undefeated until the finals, where they lost to Manitoba three sets to one.
“We were powering through pretty well, but Manitoba put a good fight [and] they’re a good team," said Belireau. “They got three players who were on the All Rookie U SPORTS team, so we knew it was going to be a battle going into it, but it was a lot of fun to see that really good competition and just kind of a glimpse of what we’re going to get in Niagara, as well.”
Belireau is one of only a few local athletes heading to Ontario for the Canada Summer Games in Niagara from Aug. 6-21. The Games are Canada’s major event for U21 amateur athletes.
“We’re ready to go get the gold in Niagara,” said Belireau.