Ashcombe Players Enjoy International Duty
Ashcombe Volleyball Club junior players Lydia Goodwin and Katy Begley experienced their first international tournament when selected as part of the England U-17 squad at the Northern European championships (NEVZA) in Kettering last week.
Both had been selected to take part in the England Cadet Programme earlier in the season and had participated in a pre-tournament holding camp at Kettering prior to the final 12 girl squad being announced on the eve of the tournament. Both were disappointed not to be joined by teammate Rachel Higgins however soon settled in to the major tournament routine became great friends with their England colleagues.
Both played a significant amount of court time across the four day tournament and the girls thoroughly enjoyed the experience of representing their club and country on a wider stage. Lydia played in 6 sets over the course of 4 appearances in the tournament, meanwhile Katy did especially well against Iceland scoring the hat trick by getting points from her Block, Hit and Service.
Overall the English team performed very well and showed improvement throughout their matches including winning a set against pre-tournament favourites Denmark.
Goodwin, a student at the Ashcombe School in Dorking expressed how much she had enjoyed the experience and hoped to be selected in future England programmes.
“I was so surprised to be picked to play for England, it felt amazing. Off the court we enjoyed movie and pizza nights with the boys as well and both teams supported each other. The whole weekend was a great experience and I feel like I have learnt so much from it; I was so happy to receive 4 caps and I am hoping to continue my training so I can hopefully go to NEVZA next year and represent my country again”
In particular she felt that the crucial game against Denmark was the pinnacle of the tournament,
”I really enjoyed the match against Denmark. I was in the starting 6 for this match and was really nervous; when we got on court though it was fine. I loved how we all came together as a team and took the set off Denmark. We all continued to bond as a team and I have made some good friends who I hope to play alongside again.”
Katy also found her first experience of International Competition to be a fantastic experience.
‘”I found the NEVZA holding camp and Championships an amazing experience that will stay with me for a long time.
As well as making many new friends within both the England boys and girls Cadet Squads, the games themselves were experiences from which a lot of positive points can be taken. Having competed against Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and also the Faroe Islands, the realisation soon hit me that playing volleyball at an international standard has no comparison to any other volleyball that I have played before. ”
Katy summed up the tournament as follows.
“The England team played five matches: in each match many of us had the opportunity to develop our skills and gain vital experience against some top European teams. For each game an individual played, an international cap was rewarded, and, as a result of this, I was delighted to receive five international caps. This was the first tournament that the current England Cadet team had the chance to receive caps, so for us it was a huge privilege and achievement to have been a part of it!”
Ashcombe Volleyball Club Chair Carol Fogarty expressed her delight at the girls performances.
‘We are immensely proud of Lydia and Katy. Their achievements at the national level reflect their dedication and tenacity. Praise must also go to the highly talented coaching staff who lead the junior development programme at Ashcombe School. Well done to all.’