Talented siblings shine in Super 8s squads

Paige Fullerton in action for Team Northumbria

It’s a family affair for two of England’s most talented volleyball players in 2018 as brother and sister Nathan and Paige Fullerton chase ambitious goals on and off the court.

The hotshot siblings have lit up venues across the UK this season as members of Team Northumbria’s all-conquering Super 8s squads.

And they have done so at the same time as juggling full-time degrees on opposite sides of the city they’ve come to call home.

Paige is a student at Northumbria University while brother Nathan is a Newcastle University undergraduate – a situation that takes sibling rivalry to a whole new level when the two institutions clash for the cross-town Stan Calvert Cup each year.

“It’s amazing to have a brother who shares the same passion,” said Paige. “I don’t think there has been a time in our careers that we haven’t been in the same city playing volleyball so it’s pretty normal to me.

“The benefit of being around each other so much is that we get to see each other grow in so many different ways and to have someone constantly by your side and motivating you is an amazing feeling.

“However, Nathan and I are completely different. I think the most annoying habit that Nathan has is he’s just too relaxed – meaning that he’s never in a rush for anything and loves to avoid my calls cause it’s probably me telling him to hurry up!”

Both Paige and Nathan are making rapid progress for club and country under the expert tutelage of TN head coach David Goodchild.

And the pair both benefit from being part of TASS – accessing specialist services including lifestyle, strength and conditioning and psychology support.

Team Northumbria’s Nathan Fullerton celebrates

“I became a TASS athlete in my first year at university after I made England’s junior team,” said Nathan.

“Our national governing body actively encourages potential students to attend universities with (or close to) TASS centres so that they can access a range of support services.

“‎The integrated support services are similar to what you’d expect from a professional sports team and the friendly staff work together to create a database on each athlete.

“The range of support from TASS complements the student athlete lifestyle and helps me to aim for success in volleyball without affecting my studies.

“Trying to access the same level of support independently would be too costly and difficult to manage.”

That’s a message echoed by Paige who admitted TASS has helped her to prioritise the various demands associated with playing elite sport at the same time as studying for a full-time degree.

“Having a physiotherapist on hand – and seeing them unlimited times – is perfect for someone like me who trains every day,” she added.

“The TASS community is amazing to be a part of. Meeting other student athletes who are on the same path as me and wanting to reach the highest level of their sport is inspirational. It gives me the motivation to achieve my own goals.

“Without the support of TASS I would definitely find it difficult to juggle my studies and volleyball – the support that I’ve had over the last three years has been tremendous and has made me a more organised person.”

Nathan agreed. “Without the constant mentor support I get from the TASS lifestyle coach I’d find it tough to do all I need to do on an off the court,” he added. “There are a lot of unavoidable clashes that arise between my studies and volleyball – when the going gets tough the guidance available is second to none.”

After helping Team Northumbria reach the top of both the men’s and women’s Super 8s tables this season both Fullertons are chasing the domestic game’s biggest prizes.

Paige added: “Both teams are riding high in Super 8s and we’re through to the semi-finals of the National Cup. We just need to stay focused and work hard for the next four months.”