England’s Volleyball squad return to the court for first time since 2020 with two Twickenham stars

Two Twickenham women secured third place this January as part of England’s volleyball team at the Novotel Cup in Luxembourg.

On January 6th, Martha Bullen (22) and Mattéa Goalen (23) played libero and defender for England at the two day tournament.

The women’s team lost in a tight 5 set match against the German U20 squad and Luxembourg in three sets, but reigned victorious against Ireland.

The tournament was a promising start to the squad’s journey, with six of the players in the squad gaining their first senior international cap at the tournament.

Bullen said: “Taking into consideration the lack of experience at the senior level of competing and the young age of the squad there are great building blocks to work with.

“Luxembourg took us down in 3, as we failed to score against their exceptional defence. They also had two very strong go-to outside hitters who carried their team in terms of point scoring.

“In the third set, Mattéa brought us level by delivering an exceptional 8-point serving run, meaning we eventually had 2 set points, but we could not convert.”

Lockdown forced a year long hiatus on the squads training, but since then they have trained three times a year with a plan to increase this in 2023. 

Bullen said: “When we train together, there is a high standard expected in all aspects of the game, whether it is being ready for different situations that could occur in the point or increasing our court communication and presence to work better as a unit.”

Bullen has been part of the England Squad since she was 14. Once she was too old for the junior age group (U19), Bullen was invited to the Senior Women England camps and has remained in the squad ever since.

She said: “I learn a lot of things about myself when I play, especially regarding my ability to deliver a performance under pressure, which will improve with regular training together and more high-level tournaments.

“The plan moving forward is to increase training so that we can accelerate our progress as a team and become more familiar with each other on court.”

Featured image credit: Mandy Bullen

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