Riverside is successful at many sports; the 2019 fall season has seen success in swimming, cross-country and volleyball, to name a few. Wins and losses are part of being an athlete, and the Riverside Sr. Boys Volleyball team is having a great, winning season so far, but it’s the journey with coaches and friends that, sometimes, matters more.
Grade 12 Jesse Lee is a player who is contributing to the volleyball legacy at Riverside. Lee transferred to Riverside from Terry Fox in his grade 10 year, and he played for Mr. Cary Brett’s junior team. Lee also played for Brett in the U17 club team, The Ducks, helping the team to come first in the 2018 club season play. Brett’s philosophy of coaching athletes at a sport, such as competing with integrity, building character, gaining an appreciation for the game, and creating cohesiveness, has been instilled in Jesse and his team members. Brett describes Lee as someone who works hard and is personable and outgoing. “Jesse has all the qualities of a great player, and it is cool to see him grow into his own, make friendships and have the potential to play post-secondary,” said Brett. Lee has been playing the last two years for the senior team, under the coaching of Mr. Rob MacKenzie, as head coach, and Mr. Carlo Muro, as the assistant coach.
Jesse recognizes the impact his coaches have had on him over the years. “I look up to three people when it comes to volleyball: Mr. Brett, Mr. Mackenzie, and, of course, Mr. Muro. Mr. Brett is the one who really taught me how to play the game and helped me to play at a higher level. Mr. Mackenzie has taught me skills that have helped me play different positions. Mr. Muro taught me what it means to have a great attitude during the game which is very important when it comes to volleyball,” said Lee.
Brett, MacKenzie, and Muro have all contributed to the school’s volleyball legacy. Brett graduated from Riverside in 2007 and was a top player for the school himself. In his grade 11 year, he helped coach the junior team, went on to run various community camps after that, went to university and then found himself back at Riverside as a teacher and a volleyball coach. Brett himself was, of course, coached by the great Carlo Muro back in 2007, when Muro was still coaching as the head coach. MacKenzie, who graduated from Centennial in 2001, had to play many games as part of Centennial’s team against Muro’s Riverside team. Muro and MacKenzie have been coaching together for the last four years, two of them as a transition for MacKenzie from assistant coach to head coach. Muro’s legacy goes beyond Riverside to other schools and into the past of his career. For instance, he coached against Lee’s dad when his dad was a student at Banting Jr. and Muro was a teacher at Maillard Jr.
MacKenzie and Muro have high hopes for the team and Lee, “who has made great strides this year as the power hitter position,” according to MacKenzie. The Riverside boy’s volleyball team is currently undefeated in Coquitlam League play. They play a semi-final against Heritage Woods on Tuesday, November 5 at Heritage Woods, and hopefully, on to the final, perhaps against MacKenzie’s old school, Centennial on Thursday, November 7, hopefully, right here at Riverside for the fans to come out and cheer. Next week, the team moves on to the North Zone tournament play, which means they will play teams from Burnaby for the first time. Come out and support your team!