Volleyballer awarded scholarship for achievements

Image: Nathan Fullerton

What year are you in?

3rd Year

What drew you to play volleyball?

Mainly through inspiration from my parents, both were very competitive volleyballers with my dad competing over 90 times for England. As my sisters and I were growing up our parents would take us to watch games and train at our local club my dad runs – Willesden Volleyball Club. I tried out most other sports because of my height and physique, but none of them interested me as much as volleyball.

Why did you choose Newcastle University?

I needed a university to offer a high standard of volleyball and academics, so I’d have the flexibility of choosing to go further in my sport after university while having a degree from a highly ranked institution. Newcastle offers the best of both worlds with the added bonus of a great city and links to national league clubs.

What’s your favourite part of playing volleyball?

The energy and emotion, volleyball’s a fast-paced sport heavily reliant on teamwork. Throughout all the teams I’ve played with everyone’s pumped up and motivated, whether it’s making big hits or diving to save a point all have that desire. A great example of this is an intense volleyball rally

Where have you seen improvement in your game since you began your time at Newcastle?

When I first started out at Newcastle I was weak in defence and serve receive, our coaches spent a lot of time changing and refining my technique in those areas. Now I’m much more confident and relaxed in ball control, and I’ve learnt to challenge any of my weaknesses rather than avoid addressing them.

I’ve noticed a significant improvement on the physical side thanks to the S&C (strength and conditioning) team, since arriving I’ve been pushed hard breaking my PB’s in the gym, it’s had a direct impact within volleyball as I can jump higher, move faster and hit harder.

A factor that’s not been as easy to measure has been learning to step-up as a player and taking on board more responsibility, in my first year I was quite a shy player coming into the team. Over the years I’ve built confidence in high-pressured situations and started pushing the team in games and training. This soon led to me becoming captain for the first time and a coach for the social team.

You have just been awarded a prestigious scholarship for your achievements. What does this mean to you? How will it help you?

I’m very grateful for the scholarship and it’s encouraging that the time and effort that I put into the sport is recognised. The award also acts as a motivator for myself, wanting to give something back to the university, TASS and Sir Robert Mcalpine by becoming the best athlete I can become and getting the results in games. The scholarship helps cover the costs associated with training camps and any competitions, which becomes expensive doing both indoor and beach volleyball year-round. More time can therefore be spent committed to the sport

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