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01/10/2015 11:00
Lise Van Hecke’s meteoric ascend to Volleyball stardom
2015 CEV Volleyball European Championship – Women

Antwerp, Belgium, October 1, 2015. It was a day like any other in the Belgian municipality of Temse. The youth section of the local Volleyball club was training and among the girls showing their skills, one young player stood out, even though she was two years younger than her teammates. Fast forward to a decade later and that girl is now one of the most dazzling stars of the sport and the guardian of the dreams of glory for co-hosts Belgium in the 2015 CEV DELA Volleyball European Championship – Women. 

At only 23 years, Lise Van Hecke has become one of the leaders of the mighty Yellow Tigers aiming at causing a sensation at home in the 2015 EuroVolley. While the 2013 European Championship bronze medallists strive to use the home ground factor in their quest to victory in the tournament, the prospects of the co-organisers lie in the hands of the main crown jewel of Belgian Volleyball, who has registered thus far a tally of 63 points, four blocks and one ace in four matches. “Everybody is pleased with how the competition is going so far. I’m sure that we can still surprise some so-called 'top teams'. With the support of the Belgian crowd, we will be able to succeed,” declared the Belgian star.     

The 1.88 metres-tall opposite has been instrumental in Belgium’s rise to success in the last seasons. When the team directed by Gert Vande Broek reached the third position in the final podium of the 2013 EuroVolley, Lise Van Hecke received the Best Scorer award, in a ratification of her sensational performance throughout the competition. “It was an incredible tournament for us, there are no words to describe it. We only have great memories about it,” said Van Hecke. The impact of the soft-spoken player continued the following year in the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix, since her team won Group 2 with the young hitter topping the list of scorers after signing an impressive tally of 246 points, including 41 in the final match against the Netherlands.  

Lise Van Hecke’s ascend to Volleyball stardom was the result of a combination of natural ability for the sport and family tradition. The offensive leader of the Yellow Tigers is daughter of former international Lise Van de Velde, who actually also played in the club of Temse were Van Hecke started shining in the sport. Unaware of the meteoric career in Volleyball that would follow years later, young Lise - together with brother Niels – had her first contact with sporting activities playing korfball, a popular sport in The Netherlands and Belgium that combines netball and basketball. However, choosing Volleyball was a no brainer for the gifted athlete. The talent that Van Hecke owned was detected by former top coach Marc Spaenjers who promptly selected the promising player for the national youth team of Belgium. In one of Van Hecke’s first international competitions, the young opposite lead her team to a historic gold medal in the 2009 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship, while earning no less than the best scorer, best spiker and MVP awards. A star was born.  

The bronze medal earned in the 2009 FIVB Youth World Championship in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, with the subsequent best scorer award, and the individual recognitions of best scorer and best server in the 2011 FIVB Junior World Championship in Peru, together with two national Belgian championships and a Italian league triumph constituted the facts that confirmed Lise Van Hecke’s irruption in Volleyball elite.

Her success represents the triumph of a generation who share talent and camaraderie, the player reckons. “In the national team we are a group of really good friends. Every year, when we meet in the national team, it is a pleasure to see each other again after a season playing in different teams, in different parts of the world. Our coach already knows that the first training of the year is rather a ‘chat session’ more than a volley practice,” commented Van Hecke, who started playing Volleyball in Kruibeke, where she met at a very young age - and started an intense friendship - with another Belgian international, Ilka Van de Vyver.    

Now, with a lucrative transfer to Brazilian team of Molico Nestlé OSASCO Voleibol Clube under her belt, the first ever Belgian player in the league of the South American country is thrilled for the new episode in her life. “I think that I still have to learn many things, but I hope I can help my new team to achieve successes. I am very happy for this opportunity,” declared the Yellow Tigers star.  

While that moment comes, and with future looking shining bright for the gleaming player, Lise Van Hecke hopes to continue writing new chapters in the history of Belgian Volleyball, when the Yellow Tigers clash with Serbia for a spot in the semifinals of the 2015 EuroVolley, in front of a packed sport hall cheering her name.  

For more information on the 2015 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Women visit or click here. In social media, please use the competition’s official hashtag #EuroVolleyW.

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