Volleyball star talks Olympics and the bump-y road to get there
Beach denizen Tia Miric has had a year of ups and downs, which included her departure from the indoor scene to focus on Fédération Internationale de Volleyball world circuit competition on the sand. Now the Grade 12 student at Bishop Strachan School is set for the next stage in her volleyball career.
One of the highlights, from July, was winning the FIVB Beach Volleyball U21 World Championships in Larnaka, Cyprus with teammate Sophie Bukovec, of Etobicoke.
But fast on the heels of that success came a loss at the U19 World Championships in Porto, Portugal, with another teammate, De La Salle alumna Alex Poletto.
Miric chalks it up to the red-eye flight that got her there.
“It was the day after the finals in Cyprus,” 5-foot-8 setter said. “I had to fly at 3 a.m. to Portugal and play at 8 a.m. the next morning.
“It was the worst thing ever. It was really unfair. Otherwise, I think Alex and I would have done well.”
Her tight schedule has kept her from playing for Bishop Strachan since her Grade 10 year. This year it’s lightened up because of her departure from indoor.
Miric’s swan song with Leaside Lightning Red was in May, where the troupe sought to carry on their provincial gold at the national level.
A bout of the flu swept through the troupe the night before the playoffs, and they finished fourth.
“I don’t want to make that an excuse, but we were missing a few of our key players, which sucked,” Miric said. “Even that night after the bronze medal game we all had the flu.”
Looking beyond a trial-and-triumph summer, Miric said she hopes to finish up her schooling at BSS, then move on to university. Her hope is to attend University of Southern California to work under the tutelage of American Olympian Misty May-Treanor.
“She’s the best volleyball player in the entire world,” Miric said, adding she had a chance to meet her idol this summer. “I’ve watched her play, and she’s definitely one of the best defenders.
“If I go there, it would be amazing to be coached by her.”
As for the world circuit, Miric and Bukovec, who’s attending university at Long Beach State, have earned themselves a berth into the FIVB World Tour. Though Miric ruled out participating in the Pan Am Games next summer in Toronto, she hasn’t given up on a trip to Rio for a much bigger prize: the 2016 Olympics.
“We’re just going to try to accumulate points,” she said. “There is a potential to go to the 2016 Olympics in Rio — a really, really slim chance — but if we were going to commit to it, and went on the World Tour for a year, it’s a possibility.”