French club Pays d’Aix Venelles has announced in its official website that it has signed recent Wisconsin graduate Kelli Bates to its roster. This will be the first professional go-round for the 22-year-old 5’11” outside hitter. Here are her first words as a professional:
“I chose Venelles because I heard a lot of good things about this place, and also because my former teammate from Wisconsin will be on the team too! It’s a competitive team and the French Championship matches my expectations for my professional career. My goal is to help the club in the French Championship and I want to make sure to get out of my comfort zone and learn a new culture. I can not wait to get to Venelles. The transition to professional volleyball will be easier and I am very happy to share this experience with Haleigh.”
Bates graduated from Wisconsin with 1091 kills (even though she spent a lot of time playing libero) and 1368 digs, proving to be a very solid all-around contributor. At Venelles, Bates will join a club that finished its 2017-18 season in 6th place, before being knocked out from the first phase of the playoffs by Mulhouse. She will be the fourth American in the team, as it has also recently signed former Penn State’s Abby Detering (link), LSU’s Haleigh Nelson (link), and UC Davis’ Lidsay Dowd (link).