BATON ROUGE, La. – Two of LSU’s own, Helen Boyle and Briana Holman, had the opportunity this summer to train and participate in a pair of tournaments with the USA Volleyball organization as members of the U.S. Women’s Collegiate National Team, formerly the A2 program.
Upon their return home, LSUsports.net asked the duo to share their experiences in a personal blog, recapping their time with the teams and their summer as a whole.
Leading off is Boyle, who was a part of the gold medal-winning CNT squad at the Girls Junior National Championships in Minnesota.
“At first I was extremely nervous because I had never played with the girls and only knew one person, but once we got into playing my nerves were gone. We all had two things in common; we loved competing and playing volleyball. The first five days we went through really intense two-a-days where all 36 of us girls got to know each other pretty well. I don't think I have ever been that sore in my life, but it was fun because everything was a competition, so we all kept pushing each other.
The next four days we were split up into our teams and I was put on the blue team with 12 other girls and we all immediately meshed well together. The coaches we had were fun, and helped us to become the best team within 48 hours. We beat both of the other teams in pool play so we got a first round bye in tournament play. That meant we got time to go visit Mall of America, which was amazing. The next day we played in the championship and won the gold!
The Women's CNT was one of the hardest 10 days of my life, but it was also an amazing experience and I would do it all over again. I made some amazing friends and had a blast! I am so grateful for LSU and my coaches for allowing me to go tryout and represent them at this event.”
Up next is Holman, who got the trip of a lifetime as she began her summer training at USC in California, before going on a 10-day playing tour in China. Her team finished second overall by the time the tour ended.
“My experience in China was absolutely amazing.
We visited the Forbidden City, Great Wall of China and multiple silk markets. I had the honor of competing with, and against, some of the best collegiate athletes in the country. It did nothing but make me better, and I'm so thankful for the opportunity that was given to me by the USA program.
All of the Chinese teams were amazing. They were very quick and disciplined. Everything that I learned will only make the upcoming season that much easier. I had so much fun and I want to thank LSU for sending me to try out for the team and for the opportunity to represent my country.”
The Tigers report for preseason training camp in early August, and will begin the season at the Mortar Board Premier tournament hosted by Purdue.
LSU has earned 190 victories sparked by five 20-win seasons to go along with seven SEC Western Division titles since 2005. The Tigers also are one of 29 programs to appear in at least seven NCAA Tournaments during the past nine seasons.
For all of the latest news and information on Tiger volleyball, visit www.lsusports.net/volleyball. Fans can also follow the program on its social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsuvolleyball along with @lsuvolleyball and @lsucoachfran on Twitter and @lsuvb on Instagram.