Jubinville-Mah and Miller may not be from Newfoundland, but they feel like they belong
© Photo by Robin Short/The Telegram
Allison Poynter (left) and Catherine Ducey of Newfoundland and Labrador (2) go up to block a ball hit by a Manitoba player as teammate Amanda Whalen (13) looks on during a women’s volleyball match Saturday night at the 2013 Canada Summer Games in Sherbrooke, Que. Manitoba won 3-0. — Photo by Robin Short/The Telegram
By Robin Short
Telegram Sports Editor—Sherbrooke, Que.
One is from Victoria, B.C.,and the other from Oromocto, N.B., but Samantha Jubinville-Mah and Lauren Miller have the Newfoundland flag tattooed — well, maybe not literally — on their hearts at these Canada Games.
The pair of 20-year-old Memorial University Sea-Hawks volleyball players are veterans — as if 20 is old — on Newfoundland’s Summer Games team here. They are joined by fellow varsity players Jill Snow, Gill Ricketts and Krista Hogan on the provincial Games team.
What separates Jubinville-Mah and Miller, however, is that both were born and raised and played volleyball elsewhere.
“I feel I belong here,” said the petite 5-3 Jubinville-Mah, who bobs and weaves amongst her taller teammates on the court.
“I feel this is where I should be.”
Jubinville-Mah is the starting libero on the Sea-Hawks, and Miller was an all-star at the 2012 Atlantic University Sport championship.
Both are in St. John’s to attend Memorial, not to mention play volleyball, which makes them eligible to play for the province’s Canada Games team.
According to Newfoundland’s Canada Games coach Megan Conroy, the two could have vied for positions on their home province’s Games team, but opted to go out for the Newfoundland squad.
“They’ve been living in Newfoundland 180 days, and they’re here for school or work purposes, which goes with the Canada Games policy,” Conroy said.
“These girls as just as much Newfoundlanders as the rest of the girls on this team. They’ve been here for two years, this is where their home is now, this is where their friends are. They wanted to represent Newfoundland.”
Newfoundland has had a rough start in women’s volleyball, falling to 0-3 heading into a match Sunday night against Quebec.
Most of the provinces at these Sherbrooke Games are not short on size and height, and while Newfoundland does have some tall players, many on the roster are between the ages of 16 and 18, save for the Memorial girls.
“We’re a little young compared to some of these other teams which are pulling their players from the CIS teams, training for a month or a month and half and coming here,” Conroy said.
For Jubinville-Mah, the journey across the country to Newfoundland ended first at the University of New Brunswick-Saint John, where she spent one year.
She wasn’t particularly keen on that situation, and contacted Sea-Hawks coach Bill Thistle regarding a tryout for the Sea-Hawks.
That was two years ago, and she is now a key player on the Memorial roster.
“I can see why,” Conroy said. “Juby is a very mature player, plays very steady.
“We can depend on her to stand her ground. She’s not on a roller coaster, up and down. She’s very dependable.”
“A lot of my family was joking around with me, wondering if I’m trying to get away from mother, like as far as possible,” laughed the personable British Columbian about her move from one coast to another.
“Honestly, I just love traveling and my family supports me 100 per cent. I don’t go back very much, even though Victoria is very pretty.
“I do like St. John’s. It’s a lot smaller and honestly, I’ve been all over Canada and nothing really compares.”
Following these Games, Jubinville-Mah, along with Miller, Ricketts, Snow and Hogan, return to the Sea-Hawks and the quest to win that elusive AUS championship banner.
While Jubinville-Mah has two years of eligibility remaining, she will play only one more season as she intends to graduate early with an eye towards working in the adventure tourism field.