Warrnambool duo against nation’s best

YOUR SERVE: Lauryn Keeley, 16, and Gabby Lougheed, 14, are set to head to the Australian Junior Volleyball Championships next week. Picture: Amy Paton

YOUR SERVE: Lauryn Keeley, 16, and Gabby Lougheed, 14, are set to head to the Australian Junior Volleyball Championships next week. Picture: Amy Paton

VOLLEYBALL prodigy Lauryn Keeley has grand ambitions for her fledgling career.

The Emmanuel College students dreams of starring on the American college stage, while fellow South-West Pirate Gabby Lougheed just wants to take the game as far as she can.

However, both juniors know the pathway to glory will start at the Australian Junior Volleyball Championships next week.

Keeley, a veteran of the junior championships, will front up in the under 19s division, while Lougheed will compete in the under 15s.

Keeley’s under 19 run out will mark the third time she has suited up for the state at the championships.

“It’s still really exciting, it’s exciting every time you can go,” she said.

“Every year you play with a different team and you’re playing with different people. That’s the part I love, the social aspect of it. You’re picking up different skills each time you go and you’re playing different teams. It’s exciting that Samoa is coming this year.

“I think there is a different attitude to a competition like this compared to playing in Warrnambool. When you get up there, you want to win. You want to come away with a medal.”

Keeley, who travels to Melbourne every weekend to train, said her ultimate goal was to play college volleyball in the United States and continue to push her game as far as she could.

“I want to try and get a scholarship to a school in America or Canada to play volleyball over there,” she said.

I want to try and get a scholarship to a school in America or Canada to play volleyball over there. - Lauryn Keeley

“It’s a higher level. But other than that, I just want to keep playing as long as I can.”

For Lougheed, it’s the same philosophy. 

The 14-year-old’s endeavour into the competition will be the first time she has played on the national stage.

“I just want to see how far I can take (my game),” she said.

“I’ve had a lot of training camps as a part of my preparation. I’ve been to Mildura, Horsham and Bendigo. I’ve had a few different ones in Melbourne and Ballarat too.

The duo will fly out for the competition – which will be held at the Commonwealth Games-ready Coomera Sports Complex on the Gold Coast – early next week.

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