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.

Australia's Italian ready to take on Italy

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Australian volleyball coach Roberto Santilli believes the Volleyroos have a great opportunity to beat Italy in the opening round of the World League in Adelaide this weekend.

He should know, given his long association with volleyball in Italy, and the knowledge he has built up on the Australians since taking over as coach at the start of this year.

“Of course I’m excited,” Santilli said.

“This is the start of a new adventure with Australia, and because the team and the players feel that the moment is coming.

“And of course we are playing against Italy, so of course I should be excited, 100 per cent.”

Italy arrived in Australia without several of their big name players, but Santilli said they will still be very hard to beat.

“Of course we can beat them, that is what I’ve been saying to the players,” he said.

We have to be aggressive, because this is a young team and we have nothing to lose. I have the feeling that the guys understand this, so we are ready for a big battle against Italy.”

One of Santilli’s first actions as coach was to name 211cm star player, Tom Edgar, as captain, replacing Aidan Zingel who was unavailable.

The concern was that the captaincy might prove a distraction for Edgar, easily Australia’s most prolific points scorer and an intimidating presence for opposing teams.

But Santilli is confident the big Queenslander can cope.

“He can be the leader of this team, and this is what we expect from him,” Santilli said.

“Inside of the court he is the most important attacker, and he’s also the only player in this team who plays in a professional league.

“Of course we have to balance the expectation that we have on him, and also balance what he can produce for the team.

“I’ve spent some time with him and he is really happy to be a leader for the young guys. I think he will be one of the keys, one of the new sensations that this kind of team can give us.”

Australia has played Italy five times in World League, but has never taken a set off the former World number ones.

But they did lead Italy 2-0 before losing 2-3 at the London Olympics, and Italy has since tumbled to fourth in the world, compared to Australia’s 13th.

Australia takes on Italy on Friday and Saturday at Adelaide Arena, before heading to Brazil to take on the world number ones the following weekend.

Fearless Volleyroos finish with another win

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The young Australian women’s volleyball team has shown once again its fighting qualities with a tough five-set win over India at the Asian Championships in China.

The Volleyroos had to fight back from two sets to one down to beat India 25-18, 16-26, 22-25, 25-17, 15-13.

The win means Australia finishes ninth with a five win two loss record, including victories in their final four matches.

The Volleyroos receive no government funding, relying on the generous support of Patron and sponsor, Gina Rinehart, to help them compete at the top level.

What the history books won’t show is that for much of the Asian Championships illness and injury made it almost impossible for coach Mark Barnard to put together a starting line-up.

Ninth is the same result as two years ago, but with a very different looking team.

24-year-old Beth Carey, who played her first Asian Championships in 2009 and was a member of the team in 2013, believes the current team could develop into something special.

“What’s great about having a young and slightly inexperienced team is we can shape it for the future,” she said.

“Having a fearless mindset is very beneficial, we’ll keep working on that, and in the future we could be unstoppable and fearless.”

“Coming into the first scratch match it felt like a unit, and we’ve grown from there. Growing so quickly I think we’ll become really tight knit. And once our skill level grows we could become unstoppable.”

Australia started strongly against India, comfortably taking the opening set.

But then a big change came over the game, with the Volleyroos making numerous errors.

After losing the second set, Australia lost nine points straight in the third set to trail 14-4, and then 20-13 before fighting back to lose the set 23-25.

“We started really strong, I thought we might beat them in three,” Carey said.

“But then I think we got a little bit too comfortable. We should have taken our time, slowed things down.

“I was watching from the sidelines, it looked very tense but very flat. There wasn’t the Australian spirit, getting excited for a point or getting aggressive to win a point back.

“But even when we were down 14-4 I still had a thought we could come back from that and win the set.”

Carey said the Australians never believe they are out of a match.

“I’ve been in plenty of teams where when it gets to 20 points, they give up. I love this team, you might be down 14-20 and we keep fighting,” she said.

“We’ve been seen as Australian underdogs for a very long time. What I love about this team is we don’t care where we are in the rankings, we just go out fearless and play our game with the Australian spirit.”

The Australians will now prepare for the World Grand Prix, with Australia set to host their division final in Canberra in July.

ABVC President's Update – November 2013

Over the past few months, while winter set in and our top men's and women's teams had one of their most successful seasons on the World Tour, the Australian Beach Volleyball Committee has been quietly working behind the scenes on various issues aimed at developing, maintaining and improving the sport.

Renault National Beach Volleyball Series

Following on from a successful 2013 Renault National Beach Volleyball Series, one of our members - Marta Makuch, developed a survey which was distributed to all players and staff to pull in real and honest feedback on how the Tour was perceived and suggestions on how we could make it better. All of the feedback was taken on board and many changes and improvements have been adopted.

With the employment of a new VA Events Manager comes a steep learning curve. So, over the past few months our entire Events Sub committee (Baz Wedmaier, Greg Jury, Marta Makuch and Al Hinchley) have greatly assisted Mat Meriaux, with many aspects of the upcoming National Tour. Specifically, Baz has produced the 2014 Hand Book and Greg and Al are assisting VA in the development of the National Ranking System.

Two of our members, Kerri Pottharst (President) and Aaron Crook (Representing the Players) were also involved in the planning meeting for the 2014 Renault National Beach Volleyball Series, from which a suggestion was raised to trial a new format. Aaron took that to the players and the feedback was almost 100% for the trial. We aim to trial the format at the first event in Glenelg, Jan 2014.

High Performance Program

With the advent of the Australian Sport's Commission's new Winning Edge program, Volleyball Australia has taken over the running of the High Performance program with much excitement. This responsibility has come with a necessity to re energise our current program and in doing so, Volleyball Australia sought the advice, experience and guidance from many of our members in helping to build an exciting new and sustainable system. An overview of the new system will be posted shortly on the VA website with an announcement of the posting sent out through the VA social media channels.

ABVC Structure

Finally, there has been some movement of positions within the ABVC. We were sad to lose Jonathon Fogarty from his board representative Chairman's position. Jonathon was not re-elected to the board of Volleyball Australia and chose to step down from the commission. Also resigning from the Commission was Andrew Scotford (other commitments) and Shaun Docherty (Relocating back to Canada.) Catriona Tweedie has stepped down from the Chair of the Particpation/Grass Roots sub committee, but will remain on the commission as a member.

We'd like to thank all of these members for giving up their time and being passionate about the sport they love. We wish them all well in their new endeavours.

Replacing Jonathon as VA's board representative is 1996 Beach Volleyball Olympian, Anita Palm.

We all look forward to a great season in 2014 and wish all of our athletes, coaches and administrators a very Merry Christmas with much good health and happiness in the New Year.

See you all on the sand

Kerri Pottharst

President

CEO Judy Flanagan wishes to thank all current and past members of the ABVC for their passion and commitment to working with VA to continue to develop and grow the great sport of Beach Volleyball. Judy said ‘VA is continuing to drive a significant change agenda that benefits all participants in Beach Volleyball and the ABVC have been integral in supporting this agenda. I would like to acknowledge the goodwill and personal time that ABVC members are contributing in this regard.

WOMEN

BEACH

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