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Meet Former Lady’Back Sandy Martin

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Meet Former Lady’Back Sandy Martin

Since my career as a Razorback ended in December of 1999, I have been fortunate enough to continue playing volleyball at a competetive level. In January of 2001, I went to play professionally in Innsbruck, Austria for the Garten Hauer volleyball team. I was filling in for a player who had decided not to come back for the 2nd part of the season. I had been waiting for months to find a team to play on and I was getting anxious after Kim Storey and Krystal Osborne had already been playing in Austria for the first half of the season. Once I finally got over there, Kimmy had already decided to leave, but I was able to see Krystal and play against her team. After a few months of playing in Austria, I realized that playing overseas was not really what I wanted to be doing. (At least not for that team!) In the summer of 2001, I went to Chicago to tryout for the USPV, which was the newest form of professional indoor volleyball in the United States. Unlike other pro leagues in the past, this one seemed to be the one that could actually have some longevity. They were planning to start small, with just 4 teams the first year and then gradually expand out every year. I did not make it the first year, but Krystal Osborne did!! It’s always cool to see players from Arkansas succeed after college. So, after watching the USPV in it’s first offical year, I decided to go back in 2002 and tryout again. I REALLY wanted to continue playing professionally, but I did NOT want to leave the U.S.!! So, the 2nd time around, I fared better and was one of the 14 chosen, out of 109 girls that tried out, to be in the 2003 draft. In less than 6 months, the league folded and the draft never happened. Bummer, huh?The next few years I spent playing on different USAV women’s indoor teams and playing in some local grass and sand tournaments. As you can see, I still don’t want to give up playing!! This past May, I went to USAV Nationals with my team from Arizona and had the pleasure of playing with Beth Nuneviller (a former Asst. Coach from Arkansas) and Holly! In fact, there were at least 4 former players from Arkansas at Nationals, all playing on different teams! I think that there should definitely be more Alumni out there in the years to come….next year it’s in New Orleans!! It will be a blast!June 10th 2005 was my first experience playing in the AVP. The tournament was in San Diego and I played with a teammate from my indoor team. We did pretty well over all, but it is single elimination and we were done pretty quick! I am excited that I finally was able to play though and we are looking forward to some other upcoming tournaments this summer. As for what I gained from playing for the University of Arkansas, the number one thing that I gained are some friends for life. Even after we have all gone our separate ways, some of us (not me!!) are married and starting families, we will always have a special bond from our time spent playing together. I am still in contact with Ning, my setter our senior year who lives in Arkansas and Yarleen who is living back in Puerto Rico. Julie, my best friend who lives an hour and a ½ away in Tucson and Ashanti who splits her time between Arizona and California. I have stayed in touch with all three of my coaches throughout the years as well. I also learned things about the sport from my coaches and from my teammates that have made me the player that I am today.(Holly made me into one of the top blockers in the nation!!) I have coached on and off for the past 10 years and I have used many of the drills that I learned at Arkansas as tools to make my kids better players. Another bonus of playing at Arkansas is having a gym all to yourself and not worrying about spliting time with basketball teams or whoever else. It’s funny, but while I was playing at Arkansas, I took a lot of stuff for granted, like having our own gym or chartering our flights, but once I was out of college and I talked to former players from other colleges, I realized just how priveledged I was to play at a school that takes such great care of their female athletes! So, if you are reading this and considering coming to Arkansas, I will tell you that you will not only learn a lot about the sport , enjoy all of the amenities that are provided for you and become a top level volleyball player, but you will also find friends and family for life.



Sports Category : Volleyball (W)