After celebrating gold medal and title success with Scotland Women’s volleyball team and Durham University, Shona Fraser has her sights set on playing the sport professionally in Europe.
Fraser, a former Aberdeen Grammar pupil, recently returned from Iceland with a gold medal, after Scotland won the Small Countries Association Indoor Championship for the first time.
Scotland beat Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Ireland to secure the victory in what was the squad’s first international competition since the Covid-19 pandemic.
Fraser, who is only 22-years-old but one of the more experienced players in the team with 24 caps, was delighted to return to international volleyball, despite feeling some pre-match nerves.
She said: “It was very long awaited. There were all those first nerves again having not played on the international stage for so long.
“There were nerves, but they were good nerves. It was just really exciting and amazing to be back.
“There was a bit of speculation on how we would do because we hadn’t competed at that level for so long. I did feel a bit of pressure, but in sport, there’s always that pressure.
“We knew we would give it our best, and focus on the games at hand. We managed to do that and retaliate to the pressure with our performances.”
The last time Scotland competed in the competition, they came away with a silver medal, which was then their best ever finish.
Fraser says going one better this time round was an emotional way to mark Scotland’s return to international volleyball.
“It got to a point in the last game where we knew we were going to win – it was just amazing,” Fraser added.
“It was just pure happiness and a part of it was a bit of shock. It’s not until afterwards you realise how big an achievement it is.
“My parents were there watching and were telling me how proud they were – all the emotions just came flooding out.
“I think pride would be the best way to sum it up.”
Ambitions of a professional volleyball career
Fraser has just finished her third and final year at Durham University, and hopes to graduate with a sports science degree in the summer.
Her three-years at university has been impacted by Covid, with Fraser only being able to play one full season, which was in her final year, of volleyball in her entire time at Durham.
But she signed off on a high, as Durham completed the league double, winning the British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) title and the Women’s Super League.
“Not being able to play all of last year and with my first season cut short because of Covid, I just wanted to play as much as I could this year,” Fraser explained.
“It’s been such an enjoyable environment to play in, so to come away with the results we did, I’m absolutely buzzing.”
Having finished university, Fraser hopes to make the move into professional volleyball, and hopes to sign for a club somewhere in Europe.
She is currently in the process of putting together a portfolio to find a sports agent, who will then help her apply for teams across the continent.
Fraser reckons Spain and Italy are the ‘best’ leagues, but knows that there is quality all across Europe and would be happy to start her career off anywhere.
She said: “All the leagues are super competitive and such a high standard that I won’t be disappointed if I don’t end up going to one country over another.
“I’m still young and have my whole career ahead of me – I’ll take whatever is coming this year.”