ATLANTA (Sept. 27) – The adjustment from life in a small town to that in Atlanta, can be quite drastic for a lot of people, however Georgia Tech’s Kyleen Bell has overcome that adjustment, and prospered in the big city.
Bell, who hails from Rocklin, California, (about 20 minutes outside of Sacramento) looked for a change when choosing where she’d play collegiate volleyball, and ended up nearly 2,500 miles away on the opposite side of the nation.
“I thought that Atlanta would be a great place to go to school, would allow me to explore a number of career fields, and have a number of internships available,” said Bell.
Bell maintains a perfect 4.0 GPA majoring in management. Tech’s outstanding academic reputation was another key factor in her decision to come to play for coach Shelton Collier and the Yellow Jacket squad.
“I wanted to be at a strong academic school, such that if volleyball didn’t work out in the long run, I knew I’d have a great education,” said Bell.
However, as she begins her second year on the Flats, her volleyball career has begun to excel in the same way that her academic career has.
A year ago, as a freshman, Bell was named to the Atlantic Coast Conference all-Freshman Team, after a stellar rookie campaign. She played in every match as a middle blocker for the Jackets, leading the team in blocks (1.31/game), and compiling 284 kills, good for third on the squad.
This season, Bell leads the Jackets in hitting percentage (.315) and ranks second in both kills/game (3.66) and blocks/game (1.20). She was also named to the all-tournament team in two of the three tournaments the Jackets have participated in.
Bell had a unique experience this summer as well, serving as a member of the United States Junior National team. The squad was comprised of twelve girls, 20 years of age and younger, who were entering their freshman or sophomore year in college.
“Coach (Shelton) Collier arranged a tryout for me in May, and it was a rather select group of girls,” said Bell. “I got the opportunity to train during the summer at an exceptionally high level. The men’s and women’s national teams were training at the same facility in Colorado Springs, and it was a great experience.”
Training lasted six hours or more each day for a month while the American team prepared for international play.
The team worked during the summer, building up to play in the Junior World Championships in Canada in late August. The United States’ team finished eighth among the sixteen teams in the field.
As for a future in play at the international level for Bell, the next step would be to compete for the World University team next summer, and possibly to play professionally overseas after graduation.
“Playing for the national team was grueling, as playing professionally would also be,” said Bell. “For the majority of your time, you live, breathe, and eat volleyball.”
The rigor of the experience was something that can only help develop Bell’s volleyball skills though in the long run.
Bell hopes to use her experiences from the summer to help the Jackets to contend for their first ACC championship since 1995.
“We’re really focused on league play as a team,” said Bell. “The early losses to South Carolina and UC-Santa Barbara were disappointing, but we’ve rebounded and are playing well as we enter the ACC portion of our schedule.
“I’d like to be a stable factor for the team, as I try to give 100 percent every time out on the floor,” said Bell.
If Bell can continue be that stable factor, the Jackets will shine the rest of the way, just as Bell has so far in her career.