Emily Heintzelman signs with the AVA for 2021

The Australian Volleyball Academy is excited to announce that US-based Australian athlete Emily Heintzelman will be joining its program at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra.

The 16-year-old athlete is currently living in Ohio where she attends New Albany High School and is the 3rd year Varsity starter and outside hitter for her school team. Emily is no stranger to success, winning Offensive Player of the Year in 2019 & 2020, and making 1st Team All-Conference both years.

"Emily has been an integral part of our program at New Albany High School for the past three years and we will definitely miss her next year”, said her school volleyball coach, Karen Morlan. “The NAHS coaching staff and her teammates are excited that Emily has been selected for this program and want to wish her the best”. “I am proud of Emily's accomplishments thus far in her volleyball career and wish for her to continue getting ‘Better Every Day’ (a core value of the NAPLS school district) in her new journey”.

Emily will continue her schooling in Canberra when she arrives in mid-January.

Emily also plays in top national-level team Elite VBTC, a club based in Columbus. Said her Elite VBTC coach Randy Cline, “Emily is a great athlete with a super attitude and work ethic and a high volleyball IQ”. “She is very versatile having played middle blocker, outside hitter, and right-side hitter for me”.

Emily started playing volleyball when she was 10, playing at school for five years, her club for six years and beach for the last three years at Ohio Beach Volleyball Club. Emily first heard about the AVA through her extended family who are based in Australia.

Said Emily on her signing, “I am very excited to be moving to Australia to join the AVA and train with other very committed, driven and motivated athletes”. “I come ready to work hard and to learn a lot from my AVA coaches”.

Martin Collins who is the Women’s Volleyroos head coach, also heads up the Women’s AVA program. He is thrilled with Emily’s decision to move to the AVA, saying, “Emily is a dynamic athlete who reads the game exceptionally well for her age”. “We are very excited to have her involved in the AVA and we look forward to helping Emily improve and graduate on to the next step of her volleyball pathway”.

“It has always been my dream to one day play in Australia and so it is a great honour for me to be given this opportunity to train at the AVA”, added Emily. “With a lot of hard work and dedication I hope to reach the point where I will one day be able to represent Australia playing the sport that I love!”.

Emily cites US beach volleyball Olympic gold-medallist Kerri Walsh Jennings as her inspiration, listing Kerri’s spontaneity, strong work ethic and ability to adapt to game situations as motivation for Emily’s own volleyball style.

Emily will be making the big move to Canberra with her family who is very supportive of her volleyball aspirations. Her mother Karen commented on Emily’s AVA acceptance, saying , “We are very excited for Emily and the opportunity that she has to train and play with the AVA, as it is an awesome opportunity for her to get exposure and training with a national level program”. “It’s also a wonderful chance for her to get to experience life in my home country, and for her to spend more time with her large extended family who live in Australia”.

The primary objective of the Australian Volleyball Academy (AVA) is to identify and develop Olympic potential athletes for Volleyball and Beach Volleyball. It is the High-Performance Development Program for volleyball and beach volleyball athletes who aspire to reach the elite level of their sport.

For any enquiries, please contact the AVA team at pathways@volleyball.org.au