FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (July 25, 2013) – As far as Gage and Joseph Worsley (Moraga, Calif./Northern California Region) were concerned, it was just another day of competition at the USA Volleyball High Performance Championships (HPC) in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. They never gave their sibling rivalry another thought.
The two stood side-by-side, both still radiating heat from a match that ended moments before. By the supportive demeanor displayed by both of the players, it was hard to determine which one had endured a loss.
“It is different playing against him because I grew up playing with him my entire life. But, we don’t rub volleyball in each others’ face, like we do other things,” Joseph, 16, said.
A hint of rivalry emerged as Gage looked back on the previous match, which he plans to avenge. He also values the opportunity to compete against his older brother.
“It’s fun to play against him because you don’t really get to play against a bro a lot,” Gage, 14, said. “We gotta beat him. We didn’t this time, but we got him next time.”
Joseph’s USA Select A1 Red team swept Gage’s USA Select A1 White team 25-19, 25-18, 25-13 on the third day of play.
But, it was not just about a rivalry. Ultimately, the pair was there with a common goal – to develop their skills while competing for a medal.
The father of the two, Roger, explained that the Joseph is a setter during club season so the libero position is new to him this year.
“This gives him an opportunity to work on his defense, so this is probably a great experience for him,” Rodger said.
Joseph is embracing his experience in a new position and is keeping an open mind about making the switch through the upcoming club season.
“I have been a setter all my life, so it’s new for me to be playing libero at this kind of level,” Joseph said. “I enjoy it. When we get back to club I don’t know what I’ll be doing.”
As an incoming high school freshman, Gage hopes to hit a growth spurt and aspires to become a hitter.
“I’m pretty young,” Gage said, “I’m waiting to grow a little more so I can play right side because I’m a lefty.”
Regardless of what position the brothers land in the future, they are undeniably some of the most passionate and talented liberos at this event.
Ken Shibuya, who serves as head coach for the six USA Boys’ Select A1 teams training and competing at the HPC, was one of several elite coaches who noticed the outstanding brothers.
“They are some of the best liberos in their division,” Shibuya said.
Joseph and Gage offered several reasons why they love competing as liberos.
“The best part about being a libero is that your team has a lot of respect for you, so you have a lot of say on the court,” Joseph said. “It’s just fun to play.”
Gage fired a more competitive explanation for why he loves his position.
“When you get to dig your friends you can pop the ball up and say ‘easy,’” Gage said. “And you get bragging rights and all that.”
The brothers hope to carry out their volleyball careers into the collegiate and professional level. Joseph plans to continue competing as an indoor player, while gage aims to cross over to beach volleyball.