They’ll play 11 games in Chile, their first trip since the COVID-19 outbreak, and it’ll be a big step up. The NZ women have only had the national domestic league to keep them up to scratch heading into the tour.
“We’ve been doing training camps over the past few years, so they have got really good competitive games in against each other, and this is the first time they are going to be tested,” said coach Sebastian Gonzalez Moreno.
Tested, they will be, with volleyball one of the most popular sports in South America and the world. Two-hundred-and-twenty-two nations are associated with the sport’s governing body – that’s 11 more than football has – and it’s popularity is spiking here.
In the past, volleyball has been rather small in New Zealand, but is now thriving. It’s one of the fastest-growing sports in high schools and is now the second-most popular sport for teenage girls, meaning the future of the Volley Ferns looks bright.
“This is my first time being named in the squad,” said Volley Ferns debutant Marnie Ursem. “I’m only 18, this is my high school.
“I’m in my last year [at school] and have just come off playing in a national final for my school team, which was a great experience.
That experience will go to the next level in Chile.