Video Spotlight - Andrea Ball

LANGLEY, British Columbia - Sunday lunch around the Ball family residence is about as Dutch as they come.

First comes dessert. Then comes the main course. And, like gravy on a towering pile of mashed potatoes, volleyball talk finds its way into every crevice of the conversation.

“Literally our entire lunch conversation is about the past volleyball games,” said fifth-year Andrea Ball, Trinity Western’s 5-foot-8 women’s volleyball starting libero.

And it’s no wonder why. Andrea’s younger brother, by one year, Ben, is the starting setter for the TWU men’s volleyball team and her younger siblings Rick, Sadie and Austin are also gurus of the game.

But it helps especially so when the eldest of the children is the chatty volleyball-loving Andrea. The one who could talk Spartans volleyball all day.  But also the one who nearly would have been chatting Thunderbirds volleyball all day.

“I was 99 per cent sure I was going to UBC,” said Ball about her university decision. “But I wasn’t feeling quite as good as I should if I’m making such a big choice. So then, the Trinity Western coaches came and talked to me and everything looked so good, like too good to turn down, so I decided to come here.”

Ball arrived on campus in the fall of 2006 after a summer with the Canadian national junior team. Julie McLeod (at the time, Blackburn) was the Spartans incumbent starting libero coming into the year and would have likely been so for the next two years.

Ball was settling in as a back up waiting for her turn.

But things don’t always go as planned.  And for Ball, her chance to step into the starter’s role came earlier than expected. An injury to McLeod in Ball’s second year brought the Abbotsford, B.C. product into the spotlight early.

And the job has been hers ever since.

Last year she led Canada West with 3.83 digs per set. The year before, she was fourth in the conference with 3.41 digs per set. And this, her final year, she’s currently sixth in Canada West with 3.43 digs per set.

She’s one of only two fifth-years leading the team this year – the other being Kara Jansen Van Doorn – and it is her last year as a Spartan and indeed she’d like to go out on top, but she’s still the fun-loving kid she was when she first arrived.

“As far as volleyball goes, you’d think there would be more pressure and it would be more stressful because this is my fifth year and it’s like we need to win,” Ball said. “But actually, I feel more free to play and just have a good time.”

The team motto is “Live free. Play free.” And so far by helping to guide the Spartans to a 7-1 record this year and being ranked No. 2 in the CIS, it seems she’s doing just that.

But while there’s plenty of flavourful filling in the middle, Ball’s ultimately story must start and end with family.

Because it’s probably why she’s so good.

“Our family in general is such a volleyball family,” Ball said. “We get pretty competitive. We play outside [in the backyard] almost every night in the summer. And when my cousins come over, they’re more competitive than us and we’re competitive.”

And although on Sundays dessert comes first, you can bet Andrea is hoping, on the court, the sweetest victory is being saved for last.

Last Updated: 2010-11-30
Author: Mark Janzen