Last year, MHS added the Beach Volleyball to its interscholastic competitive calendar and built new courts southeast of the football field. The rules for beach volleyball differ from indoor volleyball – rather than playing on a large court with six people, beach volleyball works with teams of two on a smaller court, and the ball itself is slightly larger as well as lighter.
Willmore says, “I prefer playing indoor volleyball because of my experience, but I still love playing outside.”
Willmore says one of the biggest differences from playing outside is the weather. Adjusting to Bullhead’s notorious wind conditions is a constant theme, and even after two seasons, the subtle adjustments are a constant learning process. As many TBird athletes know, playing outdoors in the Tri-State area necessitates composure: some days offer beautiful 80 degree, blue sky conditions, but others present intense dust and thunder storms.
Nevertheless, her coach, Mr. Zdenko Radic, has never been one to cancel practice, let alone games; instead he pushes Willmore and her teammates to keep going, an attitude for which she is continually grateful: “Ever since 6th grade…he has always motivated me to just come and play.”
Aside from her coach, she would like to thank her friends and family for their constant support, especially her older siblings who were her early role models: “They always find a way to make it to my games.” Whether indoors or out, Natalie has always been able to strike that unique balance for her teammates, a companion who can be the source of a good laugh to cheer them up, but also a competitive teammate who still takes the game seriously.
Natalie has plans to attend UNLV in the fall, but has also received offers to play volleyball from smaller colleges. After all of her accomplishments and years of playing volleyball, she tell younger students who are thinking about trying out to “…just go for it. You will never know until you try.”