The extra-curricular Volleyball Club was first introduced to The GORSE Trust Academies in 2016 at the Ruth Gorse Academy. At the time, two year 7 girls took a particular interest in volleyball, and have now earned the ‘Stars of the Term!’

Volleyball did not exactly come naturally to Elizabeth (Liz) McAllister and Evie Higgins, but they put in the work and made the effort to attend every session available. Not only was their dedication and work ethic phenomenal, but their attitudes made all the difference. From a coaching perspective, natural ability and physical strength are not always the most important traits; I look for players with positive attitudes and eagerness to learn.

Three years down the line, and Evie and Liz are the backbone behind the Leeds Volleyball Junior girls teams. Younger girls look up to them for guidance, leadership and inspiration. They now help coach extra-curricular club at the Ruth Gorse Academy, play for the Leeds Juniors U16s team, the Yorkshire U15s team and sometimes even play up in the adult leagues through the Leeds Volleyball Club Academy squad. Both of these exceptional young athletes have bright futures ahead, and the potential to continue growing and progressing in their volleyball careers.

What made you want to stick with volleyball?

Evie: “The more I played, the more I achieved, so I kept wanting to feel that sense of achievement. I knew I would eventually get to play in a proper team, so that motivated me to stick with it.”

Where do you see yourself in the next few years?

E: “I want to go to uni, and keep playing volleyball, definitely!”

What made you stick with it?

Liz: “I was enjoying meeting new people and making new friends. I enjoy learning new things about the sport, and really liked working with different coaches with different personalities.

I just wanted to keep coming back to play.”

What’s been your most rewarding moment?

L: “Being able to play at Inter-regionals two years in a row. The first year we came last, then last year we came fourth out of eight, so it was nice to see how much we improved. It feels really rewarding.”

Any advice for students thinking about joining or in their first year of volleyball?

L: “Just keep coming back! Honestly, I was absolutely terrible for a good three months, but if you show you can commit you get invited to more sessions. I know you might feel anxious being around people who can play better than you, but it’s such a good learning experience and it helps you develop your own abilities.”