Saturday, October 06, 2001

Hemming adds 'kick' to Sabres' lineup

By STEVE GREEN -- London Free Press Oct 6

Already this year, Tyler Hemming has proved he's pretty adept at moving a ball with his feet.
If he's as adept with his hands, the Saunders senior boys' volleyball team could be tough to beat this year.
Hemming, 17, recently returned from a two-week trial with the youth program of Grimsby Town, a club in English soccer's First Division. He got the trip after his play earlier in the season with London City of the CPSL.
Now he's a setter and power hitter for the Sabres, which has Saunders coach Rob Atkinson smiling.
"We didn't know until just recently if Tyler was coming back and now that he has, he's made a big difference," Atkinson said the other day. "When he showed up it allowed Aric (fellow power hitter/setter Sudicky) to hit and set instead of just being a setter."
Hemming is heading back to Grimsby next March break and he said he's "80- to 90-per-cent sure" the club will be offering him a scholarship at its youth academy. His play at the recent trials gave him reason for optimism, he said.
"I was training every day with the under-19s and reserves and got in games with the under-16s and under-18s. I learned a fair bit and I was really surprised how well I adapted to their style of play," he said. "I knew I had the talent, it was just a question of getting used to the play."
Now he's getting balls over the net and there's no question volleyball will help his vertical leap, a major asset for a central defender at either end of the soccer pitch.
"It also works up the agility," he said. "They (Grimsby) just told me to keep playing volleyball; I might not even play indooor soccer this winter."
Instead, his focus will be on getting Saunders to a provincial championship for the first time since 1995. To do that, of course, means getting past long-time rivals Oakridge as well as a strong Lucas squad but Hemming is confident. "We're the big team this year," he said. "We've got enough good players, enough club players, and we work very well together."


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