Another ANZAC clash looming at Scarborough

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While Australia and New Zealand will be battling for one-day cricket supremacy at the MCG on Sunday, on the other side of the country another ANZAC clash for sporting dominance is looming.

But instead of the luscious green grass of Australian cricket’s premiere venue, this contest will unfold on the scorching hot sand of one of Australia’s most famous beaches, Scarborough.

And while Australians might laughingly dismiss any notion of quality New Zealand beaches, in Mike Watson and Sam O’Dea the Kiwis have produced an outstanding beach volleyball combination.

The pair won the Oceania Championships at Manly Beach in November, followed up with a win on the Australian national tour at Surfers Paradise in January, and now hope to add Scarborough Beach to their list of conquests.

But there’s a strong Western Australian contingent who will have a strong say in the Sunday action.

Australia’s second-ranked combination of Josh Court, from WA, and Victorian Damien Schumann will be the New Zealanders first obstacle.

Court and Schumann lost the Surfers Paradise final to Watson and O’Dea.

They were last week named as one of two Australian teams to contest this year’s World Volleyball Championships in The Netherlands.

In the other men’s semi, top seeds Chris McHugh and Bo Soderberg will take on Western Australian pair, Casey Grice and Cole Durant.

The women’s semi-finals will also take on an International flavor, with the European combination of Michaela Vorlova and Lucia Michalovicova taking on Australian top seeds Louise Bawden and Taliqua Clancy.

In the other semi, London Olympian Becchara Palmer and World U23 champion, Mariafe Artacho del Solar, will take on two-time Olympian, Tamsin Hinchley, and Manly’s Sarah Battaglene.

WPV International referee course in Poland May 11th to 17th 2015

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World ParaVolley are welcoming individuals to attend in the World ParaVolley International Referee course in Elblag, Poland.

This course will run for 5 days, from the 12th of May til the 16th of May 2015.

Additional information can be found here (the two attached files)

Interested officials should contact their state association with an expression of interest.

Setting up for success

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From the 11th to the 13th of March 2015, Volleyball Australia conducted a workshop focused on pathways and the FTEM (Fundamentals, Talent, Elite, and Mastery) pathway framework. Volleyball Australia took a giant step forward in collective thinking as the States Executive Directors, National High Performance coaches from beach men's, women's and indoor plus management staff came together to further plan the future of Volleyball within Australia.

 

Barnard and everyone associated with the fledgling International team had been impressed with the side’s progress during their first two Grand Prix games.

Sure, they lost to Kazakhstan and the Czech Republic in straight sets, but the Volleyroos showed plenty of the underdog spirit Barnard spoke so openly about in the event lead-up.

On Sunday, it was gone.

“We just did not play very well for probably 70 per cent of the match,” Barnard said.

“There were spurts there, but we were physically outmatched. We made way too many errors. The experience of being resilient, of going through that a lot of times and learning how to get out of it, we haven’t learned that.”

Barnard took the decision to give the players the morning off from training ahead of the Croatia game because he was worried about burn out.

He’s now not sure that was the right call.

“Maybe we should have pushed through it,” he said.

“But in the back of my mind I know they don’t play and train all the time, so it’s very easy to train them into the ground. Part of the intention today was to have them rest. I’m just not sure what the correlation between not doing anything this morning and the result this afternoon.”

The reality is this is a steep learning curve for the Volleyroos, and anyone who follows the sport in Australia knows this is the first step down a long and winding road.

Volleyball Australia President Craig Carracher knows.

“Let’s remember this is off the back of a decade of limited support,” he said after Sunday’s loss.

“This is the start of a rebuilding process, a process to create opportunity for a generation of players and coaches and administrators and officials.

“There are 200 countries playing women’s volleyball, and this was always going to be a long road. But we can’t not start the journey just because we know it’s a long and difficult one.”

Australia has the nucleus of a very good volleyball team, and with several players about to head to overseas leagues, and with several more hoping to follow, there is going to be more consistent exposure to the best.

But there are also a handful of players contemplating retirement. Some are listening to the protests of their own bodies, others are finding it difficult to balance full-time jobs with the commitment needed to play at the top level.

Which will leave enormous holes to fill. All the more reason Australia needs this Grand Prix experience to work.

Judging by the reaction of younger squad members like Nikki Cunningham and Jess Ryder, it’s a good news story so far.

“It’s a whole new level,” Ryder, who made her senior International debut against Kazakhstan on Friday, said.

“I can’t wait for the future years, when I can get on the court more, maybe even start on court.”

The immediate challenge for Australia, now they’ve taken one step back, is to move forward again next weekend in Croatia in week two of the Grand Prix.

 

WOMEN

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