Millie O’Kettter is ready to wear the Stars and Stripes for the first time in her volleyball career, and she’ll be doing so from somewhere she has never been before.
O’Ketter was selected to represent the United States at the 2019 Global Challenge, an international volleyball tournament that will be held from July 10-21 in Pula, Croatia. She will be competing for the U-18 Bring it Promotions SE All Star Team.
In addition to playing high-level volleyball on an international scale, O’Ketter said she is most excited for seeing how different cultures respond to the game and how it will be different from the American style of play.
“I’m excited to see how different cultures and athletes will respond to the game,” O’Ketter said. “In the U.S., it’s a very emotional game, and I want to see if that translates world-wide ... It’ll be a really surreal feeling, especially to be attending with the program that I am.”
O’Ketter first heard about the chance through her club coach, Terene Foutz, who runs the Four Corners Volleyball Club and is also the head coach of Bayfield High School. Foutz’s daughter, Maddi, attended the trip in 2016, and when asked about any players she’d recommend for the trip, O’Ketter’s name came to mind.
“Honestly, it was a really surreal feeling to be selected,” O’Ketter said. “I was so thrilled, surprised and thankful for my club coach and she helped me a lot to get this opportunity. I’ve never been to Europe, so I am excited to see everything.”
O’Ketter, a libero, was among nine total players selected, and while she has never played with any of her new teammates, who are from Georgia, California, Alabama and Florida, she will also get to play with other in-state talent. Myles Hilbert of Fort Collins will be attending, as well. Hilbert verbally committed to Western Colorado University, while O’Ketter verbally committed to Northern Arizona University, the reigning Big Sky Conference champions.
“We will pretty much just all meet up at the airport in Philadelphia and go from there,” O’Ketter said. “It’s pretty wide spread across the country in terms of where we are coming from. We’ll get to know each other and hopefully it’ll translate to on-court success.”
The team will be stopping in Budapest, Hungary, Maribor, Slovenia and then the tournament will kickoff in Croatia. The trip will end in Venice, Italy, before O’Ketter returns on the 22nd, with the high school season right around the corner.
Heading into her senior season, O’Ketter has been a key member of Durango High School’s team. Last year, she was the only player in among outside hitters in Colorado High School Activities Association’s Class 4A with 60 or more sets played to rank in the top-10 in services aces per set (.72), digs per set (3.25) and kills per set (2.62). For her career, she has recorded 579 digs, 116 aces and 203 kills, with a serve-receive efficiency of 93%.
It will be a memorable trip for O’Ketter and she is looking forward to getting the most out of every new sight, sound and set.
“As a high-schooler who’s never been to Europe, I think it’s really important to stress more than just athletics and be able to get the chance to explore all that the world has to offer,” she said.