Volleyroos prepare for toughest test in world volleyball

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The Australian men’s volleyball team is about to take on one of the toughest challenges in world sport, but coach Roberto Santilli believes his team will put up a good fight.

The Volleyroos have arrived in Sao Paulo, Brazil, after nearly 24 hours of travel, to take on the best time in the world over two World League matches this weekend.

“To play Brazil will be tough, not least because we have had to fly a long way” Santilli said.

“They have already shown they have a good rhythm of game, something which at the moment we don’t have.”

Australia is coming off the back of two losses to world number four, Italy, in Adelaide last weekend in the Volleyroos first foray into group one of World League.

It was Santilli’s first big test as Australian coach after taking over earlier this year.

“We have to improve a lot of things, including our block and defence,” he said.

“We make some mistakes that a good team at this level can not do.”

Brazil is currently ranked number one in the world, and are the reigning silver medalists in the Olympic Games, World Championships and World League.

They opened their World League campaign with two wins over world number eight, Serbia, in Brazil last weekend.

Australian captain Tom Edgar, himself new at the job after being appointed last month, is in no doubt about the challenge confronting his 13th-ranked Volleyroos team.

“Brazil in Brazil will always be difficult, because they’ll have all their fans at the matches because we’re playing in a city where they don’t always play,” Edgar said.

“We’re going to have a tough series there, but I’m really looking forward to it. They have the best players in the world, they have such a culture and such a great history of volleyball.

“It’s an honour for me to even play in a professional tournament there, it’s my first time so I’m really looking forward to it.”

Tickets for both Friday and Sunday’s matches have already sold out, but that didn’t stop volleyball-hungry fans queuing on Tuesday in the hope more tickets would be available.

Australia earned it’s place in group one World League after winning the group two final in Sydney last year.

The team will head to Italy after this weekend for the return leg of their fixture, before heading to Serbia and then back to Australia.

The Volleyroos will host Brazil in Sydney and Serbia in Melbourne over consecutive weekends in late June/early July.

Italy too strong for Australia in Adelaide

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Italy proved too strong for Australia again on Saturday, winning their second World League volleyball match of the weekend 3-1 in Adelaide.

It was a disappointing start to Australia’s first ever Group One World League campaign, with the team heading to Brazil next week to take on the top ranked team in the world, before a return meeting with Italy in Europe.

“Technically it was a big improvement,” Australian coach Roberto Santilli said.

“The level of the game was much better than yesterday. I can say I'm happy with the performance today, but of course I can't say I'm happy with the result.

“We have to improve a lot of things, especially the block and defence.”

Australia eliminated a lot of the mistakes which had cost them dearly on the opening night, but were unable to put any pressure on the inexperienced Italians in the opening two sets.

When the Volleyroos finally did manage to open up a break in the third set it was to prove decisive, with the more than 3000 spectators roaring the home team back into the match.

The final set was an even tussle, but Australia once again was unable to apply the pressure when it needed to.

One of the highlights for the Australians was the form of Sam Walker, who got a rare chance for a full match and impressed with his all round game.

“We're still not hitting our highest level yet, and we're still competitive,” captain Tom Edgar said.

“It's a bit difficult to stomach because we have a lot of important games this year, and we have to learn to deal with this. We need to know when to turn it up.”

Edgar was the dominant player in the match, finishing with 26 points in Australia’s 20-25, 21-25, 25-23, 23-25 loss.

Italian coach Mauro Berruto said to pick up two wins on the road with an inexperienced team is a dream start to this year’s World League campaign.

“We came here with a very young team, many players wearing the shirt for the first time,” he said.

“It was important for us to win these matches, but today we weren't so consistent.”

Australia lose World League opener to Italy

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Australia’s opening match of the 2015 World Volleyball League has not gone to plan, with the Volleyroos beaten 3-1 by Italy in Adelaide.

The home side believed during the week that they had their best chance ever of beating the former world number one, especially with so many experienced players missing.

But a high error count proved costly for the Volleyroos, losing 25-19, 22-25, 25-21, 25-20 in front of nearly 5000 fans at Adelaide Arena.

“It wasn't the perfect game, the first game is always difficult,” Australian coach Roberto Santilli said.

“We expect to play with less mistakes, which is exactly what Italy did. We missed some easy situations which we have to manage, but you can see today the difference between the two teams is not much.”

Australia once again relied heavily on captain Tom Edgar, but he received valuable support from Paul Sanderson in attack and the blocking of Travis Passier.

“I'm happy overall with the team, but a little bit disappointed with my performance,” Edgar said.

“We lost a bit of concentration and fell back a bit, but we fought back and made it hard for the Italians. I think when we're playing our best volleyball we can definitely match it against Italy.”

In some good news for Australia, they won their first ever World League set against Italy when they took the second 25-22.

Australia will get a chance to level the series when they meet Italy again at Adelaide Arena on Saturday afternoon.

The Australian Sports Commission's National Officiating Scholarship Program aims to assist in the development of potential future high performance officials. The program is built on the desire to provide a career pathway for the officials upon completion of the scholarship. The structure for this intense learning program is flexible to meet the individual needs of the sport, duration varies from 4 to 52 weeks. Officials will be required to participate in hands-on officiating and undertake professional development courses and update/upgrade their level in the National Officiating Accreditation Scheme (NOAS).

Looking To The Future: 2009 & beyond

VA intends to apply for one or more scholarships on an annual basis. Details of the application process for interested referees will be displayed once they are released by the ASC around September each year. 

Ideally VA is seeking to support a scholarship program that will support a referee with a current AVRC accreditation of National AAA become an International Referee.  This will mean the intended scholarship program will include the following as its major components: 

  • Attendance at an FIVB International Candidate Course
  • Attendance at an international tournament in an observational capacity
  • Attendance at an international tournament as Australian representative referee

Other aspects relating to activity within Australia will be determined once a scholarship has been awarded. 

 

It is also appropriate to note that if no suitable applications are received from referees with a current AVRC accreditation of National AAA, VA will seek to support an application from referees with an AVRC accreditation at any National accreditation level, or even a State accreditation level if from one of the smaller Member States, to participate in a scholarship program focused on increased national level exposure and/or preparation for becoming an International Referee in the future. This is similar to the programs undertaken by Kevin Lentin and Russell Egan in 2005.

Please be aware there is no guarantee VA will be awarded a scholarship. The suitability of each sport applying to be awarded a scholarship depends on the quality of the referee education program in that sport, the ability of the sport to provide a quality scholarship program and the quality of the applications received from potential scholarship officials. Therefore, applicants should ensure that their application is of the highest quality, including presentation standard.

If interested in obtaining further information on potential scholarship applications and/or programs, please contact the VA Development Manager.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">

General information can be viewed on the ASC National Officiating Scholarship Program web page.

Current and Previous Officiating Scholarship Recipients: 

  • 2009 - Rob Szydlowski (Volleyball)
  • 2008 - Darren Grimsey (Beach Volleyball)
  • 2007 - Kevin Lentin and Cameron Olson (Beach Volleyball)
  • 2006 - Carla Hoorweg (Volleyball)
  • 2005 - Kevin Lentin (Beach Volleyball) Russell Egan (Volleyball)
  • 2004 - Phong Nguyen (Volleyball)

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