Kelsey Bond says she was a reluctant volleyball player at first.
“I remember not wanting to go to tryouts,” says Bond who was born in Cape Breton, but moved to Bridgewater with her family when she was 12. “I grew up playing every single sport, but not volleyball.”
But with the encouragement of her friends in Grade 7, Bond did try out for the school team. And by Grade 9 at then Bridgewater Junior Senior High School, volleyball became her primary sport.
Volleyball continues to play a huge part of Bond’s life as a team member of the women’s volleyball team at University of New Brunswick. Bond was one of 95 UNB Red athletes given academic all-Canadian status for maintaining at least an 80 per cent average while playing a varsity sport. All the athletes were honoured at a ceremony in October.
During her high school career, Bond says she always had the continued support of coaches and teammates, many of whom she considers best friends.
“Those older girls were huge mentors for me growing up,” she says.
She says the volleyball program at her school was a strong one and the team won at provincial and national championships. She says she loved the sport itself and the culture. Besides her school teams, she played on summer teams and for Team Nova Scotia.
“I’ve been all over the country for volleyball,” she says.
Bond says she knew in high school she wanted to play varsity volleyball, but she hadn’t decided on a school. Eventually in Grade 12, she chose UNB after visiting the campus. She says the school was far enough away from home to be a new place but close enough to visit. She contacted the UNB women’s volleyball coach about playing for the team.
Now, in her third year at UNB, Bond switched majors from kinesiology to mechanical engineering. While she loves practicing health, fitness, and nutrition as a lifestyle, she says she realized she didn’t want it to be her job.
“I looked into engineering and it seemed like it was what I was looking for,” she says.
Bond says she’d like to move back to Nova Scotia to work in her field because she misses the ocean. She still visits and has spent the last couple of summer in Nova Scotia.
The volleyball season at UNB is only a few games in for this year, but Bond is optimistic about the team’s progress and she says the team has the potential to have a better record. She says she’d love to see the team win the Atlantic University Sport championship.
“We are passionate, resilient, we’ve very determined and we’re very hungry,” she says. “I would say this is our year … We’re never going to stop working for that AUS banner.”
Bond’s advice to young athletes is to never give up, including if you’re not recruited to a university. She says to be committed to sports, but also remain open-minded about opportunities.
“When you’re young, playing sports will make you better at other sports,” Bond says. “People don’t realize how young they are and how much potential they have.”