Volleyball star on rise in US

ON THE MOVE: Former Riccarton High School volleyballer, Carla Butler (centre) with her mum, left and sister, Kim (right), has made a big impression in her first year in America. Photo: Riccarton High School.

Former Riccarton High School volleyballer, Carla Butler has made the most of her first year on a US college scholarship.

Having initially signed a scholarship in May last year at Pasco-Hernando State College, Florida, a National Junior College Atheletics Association division two volleyball school, the 19-year-old has moved 45 minutes south to Hillsborough Community College.

Hillsborough, also in Florida, has a NJCAA division one programme and started pre-season last week.

Butler had a phenomenal freshman year at Pasco-Hernando State with the team placing seventh at the national championship.

She was also named her team’s most valuable player.

She was also selected for the NJCAA division two championship all-tournament team and the Catawba Valley Invitational all-tournament team.

To top it off she was named NJCAA second team all-American.

Butler was a member of the Riccarton High School senior A team from years 10 to 13 and left school at the end of 2016.

She also played for New Zealand youth and junior teams while attending Riccarton High.

“It wasn’t an easy change,” she said.

“Having to say goodbye to the team and the volleyball program was hard but I knew it was best for myself to leave to better my game and reach my highest potential.

“The HCC volleyball team made my moving experience easy and I was able to adapt quickly to change of apartments, team and hot weather.

“I think HCC was a great change there are many internationals on the team so it makes you feel more comfortable knowing there are others that relate to you,” she said.

Butler, who is studying physical therapy, said her college experience had improved her game.

“I have found the US experience incredible so far- I definitely can see myself living here after college.

“The volleyball over here is a big change in game as it is a lot faster and such big competition,” she said.

“I have seen so many incredible athletes compete at such a high level in which I am striving for,” Butler said.