Andy Gott grew up in a volleyball family.
His parents met playing volleyball, and they taught his sister, Anna, the game at an early age.
So, naturally, Gott would fall in line.
“I couldn’t stand the game,” the Desert Vista junior conceded. “I never liked volleyball. I grew up watching my sister play and thought it was boring.”
Gott was more into rough-and-tumble ice hockey.
Then, when he was in the seventh grade, his father persuaded him to at least try out for a club volleyball team.
“I though I’d give it a shot,” Gott said. “I went out, made the team, and I’ve been playing it ever since. Now I’m in love with volleyball.”
He even convinced Desert Vista boys volleyball teammate Sean Coffinger to forget about baseball and try beach volleyball at Victory Lanes in Glendale when they were in the eighth grade.
“The Gotts seem to get a lot of people into volleyball,” Coffinger said with a grin.
Although Gott’s sister, Anna, was a star on the Desert Vista girls volleyball team, it was on the beach where she really made the national headlines playing with Betsi Metter, another Thunder girls volleyball standout. The duo made up the first Arizona team to win the Amateur Athletic Union Junior National Beach Volleyball championship two summers ago in Hermosa Beach, Calif.
Eventually Gott found going to his sister’s summer tournaments wasn’t such a bore, and when he started playing on the Desert Vista boys team as a sophomore, he voluntarily started attending all of her games, including the 5A-I state high school playoffs.
“I really got into it,” Gott said. “It was fun.”
He even went to California to watch his sister and Metter play for a national title.
“It was crazy,” Gott added. “I’m really proud of her.”
Although Anna Gott has taken her career to Northern Arizona University, she still gives her brother advice.
“She encourages me and tells me when I should have been hitting the lines instead of angles,” Gott said. “She’s been playing a Iot longer than I have and has really helped me become a better player.”
He finally hung up his skates after four years on the ice to concentrate on volleyball.
“Hockey is a different mind-set,” Gott said. “It’s more roughing it and getting into the other guy’s head. You have to think more in volleyball, play smart, see where the hits are going and be aggressive.”
Desert Vista boys volleyball coach Ryan Tolman said the experience that Gott and Coffinger have playing together make them a potent combo on the court, even as juniors.
And maybe one of the more subtle results of Gott’s change of heart about the game is that he’s part of the family again.