Nayland College beach volleyballer Sophie Young is off to California. Photo: Jonty Dine.

Beach volleyballer California bound


After conquering the country’s best, Nelson beach volleyballer Sophie Young is now setting her sights on the world.

The Nayland College star has been selected in the New Zealand junior women’s beach volleyball team which will head to California in July.

The year 13 student already has a national title under her belt after she and partner Greta Stjade took out the secondary school nationals at Mount Manganui in February.

She will now embark on a tour with 15 young volleyballers to one of the sport’s international hot spots.

Sophie only took up beach volleyball as a hobby during the indoor off-season.

The 17-year-old says the sport was just “something to do in summer” with Greta when she transferred to Nelson from Latvia.

However, she will be without her partner in crime in California.

“I don’t know who I will be playing with yet or if I’ll be playing with the same person the whole time, but I just want to get as much as I can.”

Sophie says a partner with a similar or complementing skillset is crucial.

“You have to communicate well together, know each other’s skills and balance each other out.”

She is hopeful of a teammate to emulate the success she and Greta had earlier this year.

“Greta was an outside hitter and I am more of a setter, so I feel like that combination works well.”

The New Zealand side will compete in four different tournaments over four days from July 5-19.

Following this hectic schedule, Sophie will then shift focus to an indoor schools’ tournament in Hawaii less than a month later.

“It will be pretty full on.”

Sophie has yet to fully commit herself to one discipline or the other as she hopes to increase her chances of landing a university scholarship in America.

The trip will serve as the perfect way to introduce herself to the county.

“I’m also looking forward to playing on some amazing beaches by the city and experiencing a bit of American culture.”