Kirsten relishes international experience

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Banchory Academy pupil Kirsten Brown was in international action last week after she was selected from a Scottish Volleyball Association assessment programme to represent Scotland Girls (North and East) at the UK School Games which were held at the Olympic venues in London.

The North and East girls had mixed fortunes due the games being held in the middle of school exams, which made some key players unavailable for some of the games.

However, the squad gave a good account of themselves in all games, narrowly losing to Scotland (South and West) and England (North) in the pool games.

In the next set of matches they were pitted against Ireland and Wales for the fifth place play off. The girls triumphed against Ireland by a set score of 2-0 (25-16, 25-20) but lost out in a close contest to the Welsh girls by 2 sets to 1, going down 15-13 in the deciding set.

They did enough to secure fifth place which was a place higher than the previous year and a credit to them all in the face of some fierce competition.

England (North) went on to secure second place, with Scotland (South and West) in third, and the crown going to England (Central).

Kirsten said: “This is the second year I have had the opportunity to compete in the UK School Games.

“I was selected to represent Scotland North and East in the girls’ volleyball. There were seven girls’ teams competing: Two Scottish Teams, Three English teams, an Irish team and a Welsh team.

“We travelled down to London’s Excel Centre the day before the competition was due to be held.

“On the Monday we had two matches against Scotland South and West, and England North. We played well as a team considering we had only had about six practices together, but we unfortunately lost both 2-0. As a result we had to play for fifth place, the next day, against Wales and Ireland.”

S4 pupil Kirsten, added: “As the School Games were in the middle of our exams, we had to do without our three most experienced players as they had to go and sit their geography exam.

“The remaining squad, myself included, had to switch into different positions that some of us were unfamiliar with.

“I switched from outside hitter to libero, we pulled together as a team and we won the Irish game 25-16, 25-20 which gave us a needed boost in preparation for the Wales game. We took the first set comfortably, but then we began to make simple mistakes such as contacting the net or serving out. The second set went to Wales. The deciding set went to Wales who led from the start, although we did save five match points losing 15 to 13.

“Overall we were placed fifth, which was one place higher than we came the year before and, as a team, we were very pleased with our performance.

“It was such an amazing opportunity to represent my country playing at the Olympic venue and I hope that I can get the chance to do it again.”

Kirsten plays regularly for Banchory Volleyball Club, with both her parents and the club coaches being extremely proud of her success in representing her country at such a young age.