Hero photograph
Sophie Signing American Scholarship Contract with Coach Brendan Crichton
Photo by Dayna Whiting

Nayland Volleyball Player Set to Take on America

Dayna Whiting —

Sophie Young adds another win to her list of outstanding achievements in 2019 and over her schooling career at Nayland College. Sophie has become the first Nayland College student to gain a full Volleyball Scholarship to an American College in Illinois.

When it came to selecting a university or college to attend Sophie was spoiled for choice, with many schools interested in her. However, one grabbed her interest from the very start of the process and last month Sophie signed a Volleyball scholarship with Parkland College, a Junior College in Champaign, Illinois, roughly two hours south of Chicago. 

When asked how she achieved the scholarship and why she chose Parkland she said:

 "I signed up to a recruiting website called NCSA where you can access heaps of info about all the different colleges/universities in the states (hundreds) and they can see your profile, highlight video and directly email you. This is how Parkland found me. There were many different places that were interested and looking for a setter for the next season that I received emails from. However Parkland was the main one I kept in contact with and video chatted and who eventually offered the scholarship and a place on the team. Parkland particularly appealed to me because of the cool university town it's located in (along side the University of Illinois) and the family nature of the volleyball team as well as the success it was having. The coaches are highly recognised and, when talking to them, seemed really caring. They have had international players before so are familiar with the process I will go through."

America's college and university year does not start until July 2020, so Sophie will be working in Nelson and training hard until then. When the time does come Sophie said there are many things that excite her about this opportunity:

"I am most excited meet the team and coaches in person, travel around for tournaments and experience the game hype that the team prides themselves on. I am also looking forward to getting into trainings and see how things are done over there in compared to here."

Sophie has had much success with Volleyball over the years, but this year she has particularly excelled. Sophie won New Zealand Secondary School Beach Nationals in February 2019 with partner Greta Stjade. Unsurprisingly, she was selected into the New Zealand Junior Beach Volleyball team that competed in America in July. Sophie was Captain of the Nayland Senior A Volleyball team that came second at the South Island Championships and seventh at the New Zealand Secondary School Championships. Following that success Sophie was then selected into the 12 man tournament team. 

Sophie traveled with the Nayland College team to Hawaii and lead the team to place second in the Aloha Summer Classic, where she also was selected into the six person tournament team.

Sophie and Greta were nominated and won the Junior Sports Team of the Year at the Nelson Sports Awards. Sophie also won the Tasman Secondary Schools Beach Volleyball and Indoor Volleyball Player of the Year. 

Last but not least, Sophie cleaned up the Nayland Sports Awards winning a total of four awards: Hegarty Cup for Most Valuable Female Volleyball Player, Monica Robinson Cup for Best All-Round Sportswomen, Andrew Trophy for Outstanding Team Performance and the most prestigious Hawat Cup for Excellence in Sport. 

Good luck in America and well done on an outstanding year Sophie. Nayland College looks forward to following your future success.