NATIONAL DUTY: Volleyballer Denzi Petry gets low for a dig in practice yesterday. The 15-year-old will represent Australia in Anzac Cup in New Zealand later this year.
NATIONAL DUTY: Volleyballer Denzi Petry gets low for a dig in practice yesterday. The 15-year-old will represent Australia in Anzac Cup in New Zealand later this year. JAKE JONES

New focus delivers national spot for volleyballer

DENZI Petry has quit netball and scaled back her basketball commitments so she can focus on her volleyball.

It's paying off.

The 15-year-old found she will represent Australia, after she gained selection in the country's youth team.

"I was jumping up and down and mum was nearly crying when we found out," Petry said.

And the news gets better. She is the only libero in the 12-strong team, meaning she'll be getting a lot of court time.

"They had me playing at centre for Queensland at first, but I wanted to play libero," she said.

"So now I am playing libero when we go over there."

She's referring to New Zealand, where she will train and play with her Australian teammates.

Australia and New Zealand will compete for the Anzac Cup in Wellington (from May 28-June 7).

It's a dream Petry has had since picking up the sport only a few years ago when she was in Year eight. "My goal is just to play well and know that I played how I usually play," she said.

"My long-term goals are to make Australia for the next couple of years and go to the USA on a scholarship for college."

She is only the 28th Gladstone State High School student to be picked in a national sporting team.

Coach Brian van der Weide is confident she will perform as well as any Australian player on the New Zealand tour.

Her current coach is one of the reasons Petry says she made the side, along with a long list of other people.

"My first coach was Vando, he taught me the basics and nearly everything," she said.

"My mum and sister run me around everywhere I need to be, including Brisbane every second week.

"Without them, there is absolutely no way I would have achieved anything I have."

What is a libero?

"The libero is the passer, they get the spikes and serves up, you are only allowed in the back court and they are not allowed to serve," says Denzi Petry.

The libero also wears a different colour shirt to distinguish them from their team mates. They are mainly a defensive player, as they cannot spike the ball at the net due to the back court rule.



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