Shay­dene in U18 NZ vol­ley­ball team

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport - REXINE HAWES

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.

REXINE HAWES

Matamata College stu­dent Shay­dene Be­govich has made it into the NZ Womens U18 Vol­ley­ball team headed to the Asian Champs in China next month.

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