The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Rosa Vesty continues family tradition from New Zealand to Iowa

Originally from Christchurch, New Zealand, the middle hitter is one of nine new additions to the team this season.
Isabella Tisdale
Rosa Vesty smiles with her teammates during a timeout at a volleyball game between Iowa and Middle Tennessee State on Sep. 1, 2023. The Hawkeyes beat the Blue Raiders, 3-0.

Iowa women’s volleyball team middle hitter Rosa Vesty is from New Zealand but isn’t the first person in her family to play collegiate volleyball in the U.S. 

The first-year made the move from Christchurch, a city on New Zealand’s South Island, to Iowa City this year. She is one of nine new additions to the Hawkeye volleyball team this season and is the only international student-athlete on the team. 

Vesty’s mother and father played volleyball and went on to coach the sport, which she said gave her direction in her life.

“I was young, maybe 5 or 6 years old, kind of running around tournaments with teams they coached; I was watching it for ages; I knew I always wanted to play,” Vesty said. “Once I got to high school, I saw what other people were doing in terms of coming over here and playing professionally … I knew that it’s something I really wanted to work toward.” 

Many athletes from across the globe come to the U.S. because the move can create opportunities in athletics that might have not been possible in their home country. Vesty’s mother, Paula, played volleyball for Northern Arizona University.

Not only did she move away from her home country, but she said she picked the perfect place to attend college at the University of Iowa.

“It actually looks a lot like home … it’s very green, relatively flat, slightly better weather, but it looks a lot like home, which is really cool,” she said. “I just love my team. They’re all awesome people. They want to work hard. They want to care for you as a person as well, so I just literally couldn’t have asked for anything better than exactly what I wanted.” 

RELATED: Iowa women’s volleyball to continue rebuild in 2023 season

Vesty was the last addition to complete the roster for the 2023 season. She originally committed to Florida State but decided to flip to Iowa shortly after.

“She’s a tremendous player, tremendous personality, and she’s going to have a very long period here,” Iowa head coach Jim Barnes said. 

Growing up overseas, Vesty learned to be versatile and adapt to all types of playing styles. Bringing a unique skill set to go along with her physical build, Barnes sees the potential in her and hopes to utilize her to the best of her abilities.

“She was a beach player, which is pretty rare to have a 6-foot-2 beach player [and] indoor player who plays middle, and she can play right side as well,” Barnes said. “She’s pretty versatile, and she’s competing and has a great attitude. The girls just love her special interaction.”

First-year setter Kaia Mateo said Vesty will motivate everyone around her to work as hard as they can.

“She came in with confidence and maturity; she clicked in with all of us right away,” Mateo said. “I think that, in addition to just the kind of competitor she is, she has this fire. She has drive, and she wants to win wherever she goes and wants to win every practice.”

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About the Contributors
Chris Meglio, Sports Reporter
Chris Meglio is a first year student at the University of Iowa studying a double major in sport studies and journalism. He will be working as a sports journalist for The Daily Iowan covering women's volleyball for the fall sports season.
Isabella Tisdale, Photojournalist
Isabella Tisdale is a photojournalist for The Daily Iowan and is a senior at West High school. In her free time, she stage manages for the theater program at West High. She plans to double major in political science and journalism.