Meet The Team: Ellena Austin & Anaya Evans

commonwealth games May 19, 2022

In the run up to the Commonwealth Games this year, we want to shine a spotlight on the teams hoping to qualify.

We caught up with Ellena Austin and Anaya Evans. These talented ladies have been making jaws drop on the court for years.

Ellena Austin



Position & Side: Left side split blocker

Height: 5'10"

Date of Birth: 07/15/01

Hometown: Croyde, England

Tell us a bit about yourself!

I am currently a student athlete studying business and living in Boca Raton Florida. I play for Florida Atlantic University and we are currently ranked No 10 in the nation.

When and how did you get into beach volleyball?

I started playing volleyball at a very young age around 4/5 years old. My mother is an ex professional player and runs her own beach volleyball coaching beach camp business. She competed on the FIVB world tour for many years. As soon as I touched a volleyball I didn’t look back it has been my life ever since.

Of all the events you’ve played, is there a match or tournament that stands out in your mind? Why?

I think competing in the Junior Commonwealth games was an awesome experience and really opened my eyes to the potential of my life in beach volleyball. The overall experience of this event was so special and made me excited for the future.

Outside of beach volleyball, what do you do in your free time?

I love to be with friends and family, I also have to study a lot in my free time.

Is there a coach or athlete that you look up to and why?

My mom always, she is the most hardworking and volleyball crazy person I know!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I would love to be based out of the states still playing and loving beach volleyball.

Is there any advice you would give to young players?

Do it because you love the game and work hard while doing it. The opportunity volleyball can give you is huge so take advantage of it.

Anaya Evans


Position & Side: Defender/Spilt blocker, play both sides

Height: 5’8

Date of Birth: October 13th 1998

Hometown: Croyde, England.

Tell us a bit about yourself!

My name is Anaya-Rose Evans, I am 23 years old, and I am part of team England proudly representing my country at the Commonwealth Games and many other international tournaments. I currently study in the United States as a D1 student athlete, majoring in communications and I am about to start my master's degree in Business with an emphasis in sports management.

I love beach volleyball and have goals set to be an Common wealth Gold medallist, an Olympian, a national champion (in America) and an all American. I grew up in Croyde England, a small seaside village with my family and now live in America, whilst as school, in Phoenix, Arizona.

When and how did you get into beach volleyball?

I first got into beach volleyball while I was in primary school. I was blessed to be introduced to Denise Austin, Ellie Austin’s mum, who ran a Volleyball club before school. I wanted to do every sport when I was younger and had endless energy to pour into what I loved. After doing some volleysport lessons, a simple catch throw version of the game, at age 6/7 I was introduced to beach volleyball.

After playing on the sand, I never looked back. From then I played both indoor and beach volleyball till the age of 18 and representative both internationally and also captained both teams. At the age of 18 I decided to specialize in just beach volleyball and pursue a college and soon to be professional career. I have now played for 16/17years.

Do you have any pre-game habits/rituals?

Before a game I like to meditate and focus on my intentions for the game. This allows me to connect with my breath and focus on the positive momentum I will control and create in the game. It also provides time to visualize the process of the game and the positive feelings, thoughts, and situations I will experience.

It is about preparing mentally, emotionally, and physically so that I can perform at my best. Once on the court I always hug my partner before the game starts, I have a love for the sport and a love for the people I play with and want to express that and share the experience with them.

Of all the events you’ve played, is there a match or tournament that stands out in your mind? Why?

One match that stands out to me is a game Ellie and I played leading up to our bronze medal in Ios, Greece. The match was against Italy, and they were a tough opponent that we were yet to beat, and the game had gone to 3. We ended up winning the game, but it comes to mind for a different reason other than the outcome.

This game stands out because Ellie and I as a team overcame the adversity we were facing, we were completed focused and committed to the process and to one another. We didn’t focus on the score or what could happen we played each point together and shared both the joys and obstacles of the game as one.

Outside of beach volleyball, what do you do in your free time?

A lot of my free time is dedicated to becoming a better person and a better athlete. I enjoy reading, meditating, doing yoga and watching film on myself and other great athletes in beach volleyball and other sports. I find that inspiration can be found anywhere at anytime, so I try to search for it in all I do.

I also enjoy being outside so love to hike, go to the pool or beach and spend time with my friends and family. I enjoy being surrounded by committed people who are driven to be better each day and I feel that everyone I know and love all challenge me to be the best version of myself.

Is there a coach or athlete that you look up to and why?

As I mentioned previously there are many athletes and coaches that I look up too for varying reasons as I believe that everyone can inspire you in some way or another. To pick one out of everyone I think of when asked this question is very difficult for me. I have been inspired by so many people in my life and I am so grateful for each and everyone of you.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In five years, I see myself being a greater version of myself but still striving for more. I want to be playing beach volleyball professionally after finishing my college career and see myself living and training in America.

Is there any advice you would give to young players?

My advice for young players is to be present and believe. In life we spend so much time thinking and preparing for the future instead of enjoying and being grateful for the moment we have now. Adversity will come but by believing in yourself and others, anything can be achieved.

Team Questions

Team factfile:

Coach: Denise Austin

Club: Academy of beach sports, England, GCU and FAU


Aspire drinks UK, Liquid IV, Joolies Dates, Future Proof, Blenders Eye wear, Dry Robe, Green nut butter and more to come.

Social media handles:

Ellena: ellenaaustinnn

Anaya: Anaya_rose24 (Instagram)

Anaya Evans (Facebook)

Anayaevans0 (TikTok)

Team: Team AustinEvans (Instagram)

Describe your team in three words.

Family, passion, driven – Anaya

What would you say is your team’s super strength?

In my opinion our teams super strength is our history as friends and partners. Ellie and I have known each other since I was 7 and Ellie was 5 and we have played with each other, on and off, since that point. We have an intangible connection on the court because of this and we love one another like sisters. (Anaya)

How long have you been playing together?

Since we were 7 and 5.

What would it mean for you both to reach the Commonwealth Games?

This would be a milestone for both Ellie and I in our team and individual careers, we have been training for this moment for a very long time. To be able to perform and compete surround by the people who have loved, supported and challenged us would be the ultimate way to say thank you. We do it for everyone who has been on this journey with us. (Anaya).


The Commonwealth Games Qualifier Tournament will commence on the 26th of May, and we can't wait to see how these talented ladies rock the court.

Check out our learning plans now for all you need to master beach volleyball.

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