Emmanuel College students Wilson Lilley and Grace Knoll-Miller thrive on new challenges in sport.
The youngsters will debut for the South West Pirates in this weekend's Warrnambool Seaside Volleyball Tournament, where 66 teams - including four Warrnambool-based teams across division two and division three - will converge on Warrnambool Stadium, Brauer College and Emmanuel College for the three-day tournament beginning on Saturday.
Lilley - who has also played football and dabbled in tennis - only started playing last year but looks a natural.
"I was thinking about playing a few years ago and then my friend was playing and then another came along and played so I thought I'd give it a go," he told The Standard.
"I enjoyed it straight away, it's not like any other sport I've ever played - reaction time is probably similar but the sport is different and probably why I enjoy it so much."
Similar to her fellow schoolmate, Knoll-Miller picked up a volleyball for the first time in 2020, right as COVID-19 emerged and had to work harder to catch up.
"It's been a bit on and off, I probably would be a better if there was no COVID to be honest," she said. "But I really like playing the game with my friends, it's a lot of fun and I really love the training side of things."
As the pair gear up for their division three clashes, Lilley said he was just looking to put his best foot forward.
"I'm feeling alright, not much I can do now, I've trained really hard so I'm looking forward to it," he said. "If it doesn't go that well, I'll just have to work a bit harder."
Knoll-Miller added she was well supported by her friends and was excited for the challenge.
"I'm not that nervous, I have a lot of friends on the team, they've all done this before so I know they will support me," she said. "I'm really excited to play."
Unlike last year's edition which was played without crowds, capacity limits are scrapped so crowds are expected to cheer for teams across the honours, division one, division two and division three grades.
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