Shaydene in U18 NZ volleyball team
For a quiet young woman, Shaydene Begovich is making a big noise in New Zealand volleyball.
Shaydene has been named in the New Zealand Women’s U18 volleyball team heading to China next month for the Asian Champs.
Being named in the New Zealand squad is the pinnacle of the young woman’s sporting accolades so far.
The busy Year 13 student took a bit of time out from her school day to speak with the Chronicle about how sport has shaped her life.
Shaydene says she found being inside very claustrophobic and she discovered her love for outdoor physical activity in FunFerns netball at age five.
‘‘In class I could never sit still, I had to be outside. I always wanted to play sports, I have played most sports and if I really enjoyed it, my parents would encourage me to keep playing.’’
Competitive by nature, Shaydene tried to find her niche in athletics but found the individual sport came with too much pressure.
She found her place in team sports, with netball her favourite. Her talent in the fast-paced sport led her to the Matamata College A team and then she was selected for the Waikato Training Squad.
However, in Year 9, she discovered a passion for volleyball. Her talent on the court was also noticed by Matamata College volleyball coach Andrew Kilham.
‘‘One of Shaydene’s greatest strengths is her natural athleticism. Volleyball is often dominated by tall, powerful athletes but there’s a real place for a fast, dynamic player like Shaydene.
‘‘She moves well and she’s pretty sound technically and the combination of all these attributes means she makes defensive saves few other players can match.
‘‘She made a national age group team in 2015 but missed out last year. I’m so pleased that she’s been able to improve her game, work hard and rebound from that setback. Not all players her age have the resilience and determination to do that. I’m really proud of her.’’
Her resilience and determination has taken her to three countries in five years, in both indoor and beach volleyball, playing for North Island and New Zealand teams.
Last year she played in the North Island Women’s U17 team on the Gold Coast, where the team placed second to rivals Queensland and in 2015 she and team mate Maya Dickson placed first in a beach volleyball tournament in Vanuatu.
Despite her success in volleyball she doesn’t like to be too confident about making the teams she trials for.
‘‘I always think I didn’t do well enough, that way I don’t get disap- pointed if it doesn’t happen. If I don’t get it, it won’t hurt as much.’’
Despite her preference for playing in a team, Shaydene admits when she isn’t at school or playing sport, she loves being on her own.
‘‘For a girl who loves team sports, I don’t do a lot in my free time. If I’m not playing sport I am just at home. I enjoy being by myself.’’
Shaydene admits she still doesn’t like being in a confined classroom environment but a desire to gain a volleyball scholarship to America means she needs to focus this year.
‘‘The classes I excel in are PE,’’ she laughs. ‘‘The advice I get in academics is ‘try a little harder to concentrate’.
‘‘I need to settle down this year and focus.’’
The New Zealand U18 team leaves for China at the end of February.
Matamata College student Shaydene Begovich has made it into the NZ Womens U18 Volleyball team headed to the Asian Champs in China next month.