For the second consecutive summer, University of Missouri volleyball setter Lindsey Hunter had the chance to play with the pros at the USA’s National Volleyball Team camp, which was May 15 to June 4 in Denver.
“It was amazing to play with people of that caliber,” Hunter said. “It was a great experience.”
At the USA National Volleyball Team tryouts in early February, Hunter was one of about 20 who earned a spot on the A2 or “second national team.” The A2 team is composed of college students who hope to play in the Olympics. “It’s kind of like a prep for the Olympic team,” Hunter said.
Members of the A2 team trained side-by-side with the Olympic players twice a day for two weeks. Hunter said the style of play was on a completely different level than college.
“The game is much quicker and that took a while to get used to,” Hunter said. “The thing that makes it different is that it’s like a job. You’re
practicing twice a day and lifting weights after that, and you don’t have to worry about school or anything except volleyball.”
This year USA Volleyball hired a new team coach, “Jenny” Lang Ping. Ping, who is from China, used a style that Hunter was comfortable with because of her experience with Chinese MU assistant coach Deng Yang.
“My setting coach is Chinese and she played under the new national team coach, so their philosophies are kind of similar and that was good for me,” Hunter said.
Hunter said playing on the A2 team is not a guarantee that a player will make the Olympic team. The Olympic players are chosen three or four months before the Olympics and a lot decision is based on the chemistry. Hunter said she is optimistic about representing the USA at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing but she knows it will take perseverance.
“It’ll definitely be a challenge,” she said. “It’s going to take a lot of hard work to get there.”
Hunter, a senior majoring in business administration, is excited about her final year at MU. She has led the Big 12 Conference in assists for her first three years.
“I’m really excited because all the starters are coming back and we have a great team overall,” Hunter said. “I think this could be one of my best years at Mizzou, for sure.”
The Tigers finished last season with a No. 24 national ranking and a 20-9 record. Their first home game this season is Sept. 2, when they will play Utah in the first game of the three-team Tiger Invitational.