Gstaad, Switzerland, July 8, 2016 - Nika Daalderop and Joy Stubbe rocked the boat at the Gstaad Major and proved themselves with a strong 17th place at the third stop of the SWATCH Major Series. And this even though promising prospect Daalderop doesn’t even know if she should continue her career in Volleyball or Beach Volleyball.
There is a lot going on in Beach Volleyball and Volleyball. While the “crème de la crème” of Beach Volleyball are locking horns in the heart of the Swiss Alps, the elite of the women’s Volleyball national teams are competing for the FIVB World Grand Prix crown in Bangkok.
And in between, there’s Dutch youngster Daalderop. How come, you might ask? The reason why that is the only 17-year-old plays for both teams, the Volleyball and Beach Volleyball national teams of The Netherlands.
But while the Dutch national team has been fighting for glory at the most prestigious annual event in women’s Volleyball, Daalderop has earned her spurs at the Gstaad Major, one of the best tournaments in Beach Volleyball.
Without doubt a very special situation for the youngster. “Honestly, I know that the girls are doing well at the FIVB World Grand Prix. And I have my fingers crossed for them, but I have no time follow the game as I want to be totally focused on my matchups here,” Daalderop admits.
And it looks like this strategy worked out for the Dutch youngster. Daalderop and her teammate Stubbe wanted to rock the boat at the Gstaad Major. And the Dutch youngsters actually did as they were one of the youngest teams to ever make an FIVB World Tour tournament - and this in the prestigious SWATCH Major Series. But not enough. Daalderop/Stubbe even overcame Rio-bound Canadian Olympians Jamie Broder and Kristina Valjas in their first group stage to make the elimination stage at their first ever international senior’s tournament. Without doubt a huge upset.
Daalderop is convinced that the Volleyball drills have helped a lot in Beach Volleyball: “Of course, Beach Volleyball and Volleyball are different kinds of sports. I have started with Volleyball and then some years ago decided to try out Beach Volleyball. The lessons I have learned in Volleyball were crucial to improve my Beach Volleyball skills, and vice-versa.”
On the other hand, Daalderop reveals that she is fascinated by the big challenges of Beach Volleyball: “In Beach Volleyball you can’t get substituted. It’s all up to you and your teammate. There’s nobody else who could save your game when you are in a down. This is an interesting psychological challenge for you as player - and I like it.”
Nevertheless, Daalderop has to admit that she doesn’t know what’s in store for her: “I love both, playing Beach Volleyball and Volleyball. And I feel completed as player because I can exercise both of them. And I still don’t know if I should consider a career in Beach Volleyball or in Volleyball. For the moment, I am just enjoying every single moment in Volleyball as well as in Beach Volleyball.”
And there was a lot to be happy about for Stubbe and Daalderop at the Gstaad Major. The Dutch even made the elimination stage, where their journey at the Gstaad Major, however, found an abrupt end as they eventually fell to Australian Olympians Louise Bawden and Taliqua Clancy 2-0 (21-16, 21-17) in 33 minutes.
Nevertheless, the goal of the Dutch youngsters was not a good ranking, but to gain a lot of experience: “We are the youngest team in the tournament. We want to play as much as possible in order to learn from them. For us it’s already an honour to face such strong sides like we did here at the Gstaad Major.”
And in order to get more experience, the two Dutch youngsters are going to compete at other tournaments too. But while the 18-year old Stubbe is going to fight for a berth in the Klagenfurt Major Main Draw, Daalderop is poised to mount the throne at the 2016 FIVB U19 Beach Volleyball World Championship in Larnaka. Maybe a gold medal at the youth World Championship could help Daalderop to make up her if she should go on in Beach Volleyball or Volleyball.