US tour spikes interest
AFTER three weeks and 42 matches across Hawaii, Oregon and Los Angeles, Gladstone State High School’s volleyball girls have returned home with a winning record and the experience of a lifetime under their belts.
The two touring teams enjoyed international success with a combined 23-19 win-loss record, including fifth in division one and two for the senior and junior teams respectively at the prestigious Dave Mohs Memorial tournament – a fantastic result given the calibre and experience of the opposition.
“Some of the teams they lost to were exceptional, particularly in their final tournament (Dave Mohs Memorial) with some of the top teams in the country,” coach Brian van der Weide said.
“In Orange County it’s the number one girl’s sport, Mira Costa has 4000 students of which 2000 girls play volleyball.”
The senior side was knocked out by the eventual tournament winners and the juniors suffered a similar fate when they were knocked into the second division play-offs by a top two side.
Throughout the tour, several college scouts took note of the Gladstone girls’ individual brilliance and some may get to follow their captain Rebecca Redgen’s lead, who is signing for Jacksonville University in November, with possible scholarship opportunities on the horizon.
“It’s their number one sport and the top sport for getting into universities and colleges,” van der Weide said.
“There were three or four other girls that college coaches came and took footage of; they’re not allowed to talk to the girls until they’re seniors but a few of the girls shone quite well.”
Van der Weide said the lessons in life and volleyball the girls gained from the experience were invaluable for their development in both departments.
“They gained friendship and the understanding that through sport you can meet people all over the world,” he said.
“Around the world they play the game the same, but they also play the game differently and our girls realised that a lot more time must be spent, if they want to make international level, on reducing the amount of errors made on court and increasing your consistency.
“The major thing the girls learnt was that volleyball is quite an extensive sport in the USA and it’s quite a world-wide sport.”
The girls have a short turnaround with the State Championships set to start next Thursday in Brisbane, where van der Weide hopes his three Gladstone High sides can draw on their recent US experiences to excel.
“Hopefully they can take some of those lessons and consistency with them,” he said.
The next tour is likely to go ahead in 2012.