While many Tech students spent their summer here on campus, studying abroad or working an internship, sophomore blocker Chanell Clark-Bibbs was playing volleyball.
Not for just any team, but for the U.S. Women’s Junior National Team.
Clark-Bibbs was one of just twelve members of the team that traveled to Brno, Czech Republic to compete in the 2013 FIVB Women’s U20 World Championship. Other members of the team were not all complete strangers to Clark-Bibbs as many of them had competed against each other in their high school years. It wasn’t the best performance as a team, placing 17 out of 20, but Clark-Bibbs still found the trip valuable.
“The experience was fun. It was a lot different than playing in the US just because it was a lot slower pace,” Clark-Bibbs said. “I wouldn’t say it was easier because the players I played against were all very talented, but since it isn’t as fast, it’s just a little easier to catch on. I really enjoyed the girls I played with and made some new friends. It was just a great experience and I learned a lot playing overseas.”
Clark-Bibbs had what most would consider a successful freshman season for the Jackets last year. She was named to the 2012 All-ACC Freshman Team, despite missing the first twelve games of the season due to injury. Clark-Bibbs averaged 1.80 blocks per set last season, which was fourth highest on the team. Though Tech lost in a grueling five set match, Clark-Bibbs had her best match of her freshman season against Maryland last year, recording thirteen kills and four blocks.
“I definitely learned different techniques and I bettered my game playing overseas so that will definitely translate to playing here,” Clark-Bibbs said. “There was a higher sense of urgency playing overseas than there was with my teammates. They were really competitive. They pushed me [and] I pushed them, so that will translate into practice. It already has started to – my teammates have caught on and we are really pushing each other in practice.”
Clark-Bibbs, who confirmed that she is going into the season one hundred percent healthy, is sure to be a key player for the Jackets this season. Being more experienced than last season, Clark-Bibbs should be able to improve her numbers. Losing several key players, including Monique Mead and Nicki Meyer, from last year’s team that finished 19-12, the Jackets will need Clark-Bibbs to step up to have another successful season.
Tech does have some key players returning from last year’s team, including senior setter Kaleigh Colson and senior hitter Quinn Evans. Even though this year’s team will be less experienced, Clark-Bibbs is confident that team can get the job done.
“Our preseason has started off well, so I’m expecting us to be very successful this year, coming out on top of a lot of games, getting a lot of wins and hopefully make it to the tournament at the end of the season,” Clark-Bibbs said.
Tech will open the season on August 30 in the Georgia Tech Invitational with two matches. The first match will be against Florida A&M and the second match against Chattanooga.