Three new stars will shine in the NCAA
International student-athletes Elena Baka, Ioanna Charitonidi and Ioanna Georgatzi signed with universities in the U.S.
Τhe number of female international student-athletes, who will compete for the 2019-2020 academic season in intercollegiate volleyball competitions, is increasing. Three more volleyball athletes, supported by Nomos, will live their dream in America and experience U.S. higher education and quality volleyball competition on top NCAA Division I teams. These are Junior National Volleyball Team of Greece members, Elena Baka (also competing in beach volleyball, 5th in Europe representing Greece in 2018 CEV European Championships), Ioanna Charitonidi and Ioanna Georgatzi, who recently signed full scholarship offers by Saint Mary’s College (CA), University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and California State University Long Beach respectively.
Elena Baka: "It was a difficult challenge"
Elena was born in Thessaloniki on October 15, 2001. She played for Aris Thessaloniki with whom she won the Indoor and Beach National Championships in Greece for U15, U17 and U19, while she was MVP in the 2018 U17 Indoor Championships. The 17-year-old, 6’1” Outside Hitter will compete for Saint Mary's College Beach as well as the Indoor Volleyball team, which was a top-30 team this year and played in the NCAA D1 Tournament. "Elena is a player who can play many positions and is very strong on the net. Her international experience will help her become an excellent player in this class," commented St. Mary's College Volleyball head coach Rob Browning, who is a veteran coach with USA Volleyball national teams.
The athlete herself said about her commitment: "Sports scholarship in America. It sounds like an unattainable dream, but the truth is that with proper work and guidance I made it a reality. Since I was a child, I was thinking about volleyball after I graduated from school, specifically in America. My own case, of course, was a difficult challenge because I wanted to play volleyball and beach volleyball and in particular I wanted to be in California.
This created concern and a constant battle over the selection process in various areas. This entire journey was interesting, with lots of feelings and a lot of anxiety about the result. Of course for every joy or difficulty I was supported by my family, my friends and of course Mr. Tassos Kaburakis with his wife Kristin Folkl helped me very much in all areas. Practically and psychologically, they were there for me throughout the process. After all this, the right choice for me came and I am very happy and grateful! I'm looking forward to my new journey! "
Ioanna Charitonidi: "It was a life dream"
She was born in Athens on January 7, 2001 and played for Markopoulo, Egaleo and Thetis Voulas. The 17-year-old (1.80m) outside hitter, international with the U17 and U19 junior national teams will be joining Texas Rio Grande Valley University, whose coach Todd Lowery said: "Ioanna is very good at controlling the ball, she has really high volleyball IQ and good technical training. She will help us a lot.”
The young outside hitter said: "I grew up in a sports family and I was fortunate to go to English school all my years so studying abroad was a one-way street. Still, getting a full scholarship at a university in America was a life dream. The effort began when I was introduced to Mr. Kaburakis. I found in him a tireless supporter and counselor, one of my own people, trusting him to guide me toward the goal we set together. With my transition to UTRGV I see my dreams come true as I can combine volleyball and studying at a very high level. I am very happy to be a member of this family, which always sets high goals and will compete for championships and play against the best teams in the country. I hope to be worthy of my coach's choice. The road is not easy in such an effort, it requires consistent work and proper guidance. I want to thank Mr. Kaburakis and all his associates at Nomos because they helped me make my dreams a reality".
Ioanna Georgatzi: "Hard work justified"
After Ιro Chounta, Marialena Bambiri, Elena Karakasi, and Alexandra Psoma, another athlete who was bred and cut her teeth in volleyball through A.O. Markopoulo will compete in intercollegiate volleyball beginning in 2019. 17-year-old 1.88m (born February 15, 2001) Ioanna Georgatzi will wear the Long Beach University jersey in NCAA’s Division 1.
The young opposite pointed out: "The biggest vindication of the effort I have put forth in recent years came recently. The sports scholarship in America was a great dream that came true with the contribution of the love and support of my family and of course Mr. Tassos Kaburakis and his wife Kristin Folkl who were next to me in every move and I know they will continue to be. It was a great experience with the main takeaway being patience and a constant feeling of love and work for the sport. I am very excited and happy about my choice and am looking forward to living it!"