Desert Vista volleyball Scott Gavin
Desert Vista senior Scott Gavin left his family roots in soccer to play volleyball for the Thunder. Larry Ward | AFN

Soccer is spoken in Scott Gavin's family.

So the Desert Vista senior might have felt like a black sheep when he decided to walk away from the pitch and play volleyball instead.

"I have a couple of cousins playing in the MSL (Major Soccer League), my twin brother, Tyler, plays soccer and my younger brother, Danny, is trying out for the national team, so we have a lot of soccer players in the family," Gavin said.

He played soccer on the Desert Vista freshman team before a friend and former Desert Vista teammate "dragged" him over to volleyball.

Now he is the starting setter in his second varsity season with the Thunder boys volleyball team.

"I'd played soccer all my life," Gavin said, "but when I got into volleyball I loved it, and after I made the varsity last year I decided to focus on volleyball. Club soccer and high school volleyball are in the same season so I had to make a commitment. It was hard, but I decided to play volleyball."

Desert Vista coach Ryan Tolman saw something in Gavin as a freshman.

"You could see his athletic ability as a freshman, and his soccer footwork transferred over to volleyball," Tolman said. "He's a great leader. He picked up the defense fast and with his soccer speed he had good lateral movement so we knew we had a pretty good defender."

Gavin used that speed and agility to become the Thunder's setter and make the Tempe all-city team in volleyball.

"He's not the most athletic guy on the team, not even close," Tolman said. "But he makes up for it with his savvy. He's also an honors student, and you don't find someone like that very often."

Gavin accepts that he may not be the most skilled player on the volleyball team.

"I'm not the most athletic person on the court by any means," Gavin said, "but if you find something you like to do, like being a setter, you don't have to be the most athletic person in the court."

However, it took a little while for him to get away from his soccer background.

"I used to want to kick the ball with my feet, but I got out of that habit," Gavin explained with a grin. "But soccer helps make you quick, and soccer feet help you react faster."

Gavin also learned some leadership skills in soccer that he translated to the setter position on the volleyball team.

"In soccer I was a team captain, so I was used to talking all the time and that carried over to volleyball," he said. "Being a setter you have to be a leader, and I like running the team. The game is so fast that you have to be thinking all the time and I like that."

Although he is in another sport, Tolman said Gavin and his twin brother have that sibling rivalry.

"They were both super competitive in soccer," Tolman said, "but it's nice to see that they both have success in their sport and still push each other. They can look back and be proud of each other."

And Gavin won't have to feel like a black sheep.


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