Silvia Gatti, Robyn Dunbar-Smith, and sisters Cassandra and Natasia Humbert took time to speak to The Glasgow Guardian. Cassandra opened with how they all got involved with the competition: 'What happened is that a girl messaged us randomly. She told us that the deadline to enter was drawing close. All that you had to do was say why you needed the money. You then get short-listed to the top forty. I then wrote this short message saying that we need new balls and money for coaching and to expand our club.' The competition has one winner, and the contenders are many. Silvia follows on, 'there are loads of people who apply, and then they take the top 40. We got shortlisted a few days ago, and now we have been harassing people on Facebook to get them to vote. We are at number ten [in the league table] now, but we were at coming fourth not so long ago.
But what makes Glasgow University Women's Volleyball Club (GUWVC) more worthy of the huge cash prize? Cassandra explains the state of their training equipment and we are quickly sold. 'Our balls are so old that we can barely train, and some teams are there asking money for their tour! Our coach can't put his energy into both teams, and we only have enough money for one coach. He is also the captain of the men's team too- that's three teams he coaches. It's hard to find someone who will be committed. We know he will always turn up for training though, regardless of our lack of funds, and he will always watch our games.' The coach gets some money from GUSA, but this is not enough to cover everything. The team also helps out at the Kitlocker shop, downstairs from the GUSA office, in order to help bring in extra funding.
The first team are playing great this year. But what has changed since last year? Robyn answers, 'So last year we were in the top league, with all of the best teams in the UK. We got into the league, but we weren't good at it, so we dropped one league. We hated it; it was so tough. All of our matches were far away. I remember seeing a really tall girl walk by after one of our games. I thought, "why do I recognise her?" And it was Lynne Beattie who is the Olympic GB captain! We were playing against people who were playing in the Olympics! It was ridiculous. Now it is much more localised, against teams such as Aberdeen, Edinburgh, and places. It is so much better.'
Cassandra proudly adds, 'now we are doing much better; we are coming second at the moment.'
The first team have seen great success, even with numerous injuries. Cassandra and Robyn recall a teammate's injury from a recent match: 'One girl broke her finger. She breaks every limb. At the beginning she broke her arm and put it back into place, and carried on. Now she has broken her finger. By the end of the match, you could see her bone sticking out. She kept playing and she was killing it! She's in the national team.'
The second team are not experiencing such success, but hopefully, with funding, they can afford a coach who can devote more time and effort.
The team wanted to make clear that the club is not just for the experienced and talented. This year the club have started a recreational team. Silvia and Natasia explain more on this. 'Because there were so many girls who wanted to play, and that we could only take 24 girls, we started the Rec team, and now we can take everyone. Instead of rejecting them, they can still play. There are loads of people who want to start, but if they haven't played before they don't get onto the team, and therefore never learn. Whereas now, they can play! It's also a really good way of meeting people if they like coming to the socials.' Silvia is one of the Social Convenors for the club, and is very proactive in the matter. she ensures that there is an event weekly, made available to all teams in the club.
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