Marlborough will have two players heading to Vietnam with the New Zealand women's volleyball team on May 23 with the news talented teenager Georgie Crawford has been brought into the 11-player side to join Marlborough Redbacks team-mate Abbey Greenwood.
At just 16 years old, the year 12 Marlborough Girls' College student will comfortably be the youngest player in the national side which is competing in the invitation-only VTV Cup against seven other nations, some of which have already qualified for the London Olympics.
Not initially in the frame for selection, Crawford was contacted by New Zealand coach Hollice Pallelei a couple of weeks ago and asked to attend an 18-player squad training camp in Auckland over the weekend after two players were forced to withdraw.
Despite this, she was far from expecting to be named in the final team for Vietnam and when it was announced she had indeed made the cut her achievement didn't immediately hit home.
"It was definitely quite unexpected. It took a while for it to start to sink in and to realise I am going to be playing at that level. I never imagined at 16 I would be playing for the top New Zealand team.
"It's more overwhelming than anything, but definitely exciting. It will be an honour to represent New Zealand at that level."
She said going to a place like Vietnam would be "a big culture shock" and while it was bit daunting being the youngest member of the team, the opportunity to travel overseas and play senior international volleyball was very exciting.
With less than two weeks before the team leaves, Crawford's final preparations will involve several trainings with the Redbacks, as well as her own fitness and plyometric work.
This trip may not be the only one she has to Asia for volleyball this year either. Crawford is also in a 17-player New Zealand under-19 squad, with the final 12 set to be announced towards the end of the month. The team is off to Thailand in October to take part in the Asian Junior Women's Championships.
Meanwhile, team-mates of Crawford in the MGC Senior A team, Katie Cunningham and Elizah Hudson have both been selected in the South Island Secondary Schools team to play in a trans-Tasman quadrangular next month.
- The Marlborough Express