CAMERON Avery and Lacey Bruce are both used to towering over their opponents on the volleyball court.
But when they had the chance to represent their state recently, they found they were only average height.
Cameron, who is in year 12 at Nowra High School and Lacey who is also in year 12 at Bomaderry High, recently represented the NSW under 19s in Canberra and the NSW CHS team on the Gold Coast.
It was familiar territory for Cameron, who has played for both teams before, but it was a new experience for Lacey, who was representing NSW for the first time.
Lacey only started playing volleyball through her school a few years ago and it was mainly something she just did for fun.
“I started playing locally and just gradually made my way up until I tried out for the state teams and realised I could actually play,” she said.
At the national championships in Canberra, her team finished in fifth, while they came third in the Trans-Tasman series on the Gold Coast.
Lacey was proud to get the opportunity to represent her state and said it was a very exciting experience.
She showed her versatility by playing at outside hitter in Canberra and as a middle blocker on the Gold Coast.
“It was so much different to anything I’ve ever played.
“It was new territory for me and I enjoyed meeting new people from around the state and playing against the other states.”
Cameron also plays as a middle blocker and while he has played for his state before, it was still a pretty steep learning curve.
“In Queensland we actually came last, which was a bit of a bummer,” he said.
“Volleyball is a lot bigger in New Zealand and in Queensland, so the teams we played were well drilled and a bit stronger,” he added.
Standing at over 190 centimetres, Cameron is anything but vertically challenged, but as far as volleyball goes, he is only average height.
“When you get to that level, everyone is massive,” he said.
“I’m not that tall in comparison to most of the big boys,” he added.
Volleyball is the only sport Cameron has really played competitively and said it was great to be able to represent his state.
“Getting the recognition is a good feeling,” he said.
“It’s always good to whip the shirt out and wear it around.”
Lacey was originally involved in individual sports like rowing and athletics, but said she would go with volleyball now if she had to pick.
“I’m into it a lot more and I’m enjoying it more than my other sports,” she said.
“I’m used to playing individual sports, so I think the team connection and the interaction with other people is something which is a lot more fun.”
The team aspect is something Cameron also enjoys about the sport, but he really likes the excitement.
“It can be anyone’s game at any point,” he said.
“The momentum changes so quickly... and I like jumping.”
Trying to balance playing sport and doing your HSC can be difficult, but they both said they were managing and volleyball was often a good break from the study.
Lacey said she’s not sure what she wants to do after school, but is ready to take it as it comes, while Cameron is looking at studying engineering or health at the University of Wollongong.
Whatever they do, they would like to keep playing volleyball and have hopes of representing NSW in the Australian Volleyball League.