Falcons’ Hardy Walks Tall On, Off Volleyball Court

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Jeffrey Reed, Editor, LondonOntarioSports.com

Just because you’re a 6-foot-3 volleyball player doesn’t mean success will come easy for you at the Canadian college level. Just ask Kim Hardy of Melbourne, who has had to fight for every inch on and off the court as a sophomore with the Fanshawe Falcons.

Hardy, who turns 21 on Jan. 15, plays middle with the 9-0 Falcons who are ranked No. 5 in the country by the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA). While she doesn’t log as much time as the team’s stars, Hardy is the squad’s hardest worker who has earned the respect of her teammates, according to head coach Sean Pellow.

Kim Hardy. Photo: Falcons Athletics/Matt Hiscox Photography.

“When she goes into a match and does something really well, the whole gym just explodes. Our bench is all over it,” said Pellow, Falcons’ bench boss since 2014 and a Volleyball Canada mentor and evaluator.

“They know what she’s gone through and what she is working towards. And those good things are happening more and more often when she gets into a game now.”

A basketball player who put high school hoops on the sideline in order to prepare for cracking the Falcons roster, Hardy dislocated her right knee and tore surrounding ligaments and cartilage while playing Grade 13 basketball at Strathroy District Collegiate Institute. She underwent surgery, received therapy and missed a year of sports.

But Pellow never gave up on her, and that offered Hardy much incentive to fight for a spot on the Falcons squad.

“Sean took a chance on me. I hurt my knee badly, and was out for a year. But he helped me do anything I needed to do to get better,” Hardy said.

“My rookie season was very intimidating. There were some amazing players. But we all clicked as a team right away. So it was a very inclusive environment and I fit in very well. It was a great rookie year experience.”
The Falcons finished 14-4 in league play during the 2017-18 season, but lost some star power to injuries before finishing sixth in the playoffs. Into the Christmas break this season, they were the top-ranked team in the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA).

Pellow said the inclusivity which Hardy spoke of – even above talent – is why the Falcons are a force to be reckoned with this season.

“Five years ago we went 5-13 … but we’ve gradually built the program back to where we’re competing with the top teams in the province over the last three years,” Pellow explained.

Kim Hardy

“We’ve spent a lot of time building a program that, when you walk into the gym, you feel comfortable. The kids all get along. There’s no cattiness on the bench, hoping someone gets injured. They’re all helping each other out and hoping for the best, while at the same time hoping to get an opportunity to play,” he said.

“They compete in training, but fully support their teammates.”

The Falcons will compete at the Durham College exhibition tournament Jan. 4-6 before resuming OCAA play on Jan. 11 at Mohawk College in Hamilton. Their next home game is slated for Jan. 23 versus Windsor’s St. Clair Saints who were ranked No. 9 in Canada at the break.

Hardy, who studies in the Fitness and Health Promotion program at Fanshawe, is eyeing enrollment in the college’s Agri-Business Management program upon graduation. And according to Pellow, she’ll only get better on the volleyball court.

“She’s had some unfortunate injuries that have slowed her progress from the point we’d like it to be. But she’s such a great kid. She knows she’s behind in experience from the rest of the girls – she didn’t play club volleyball. But she shows up every day and does what she’s asked to do, and works twice as hard as anyone else to close that gap,” he said.

With spirit like that, it’s easy to see why the Falcons look up to Hardy on and off the court.

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About jeffreyreed

A leading Canadian communications professional. Corporate office http://www.JeffreyReedReporting.com established 1989. Publisher/Editor of this website and https://londonontariogolf.com.

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