STRONG SQUAD NAMED FOR BENDIGO GRAND PRIX

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WINZER NAMES STRONG SQUAD FOR GRAND PRIX 

Six Victorians, including home-grown volleyball star Karley Hynes, have been named in a 14-player Australian squad to compete at the upcoming Women’s Volleyball Grand Prix in Bendigo in June.

The HelloWorld Volleyroos will take on Sydney Olympic gold medallists Cuba, Colombia and Croatia in the prestigious event from June 3 until June 5.

The team will be captained by Victoria’s Shae Sloane, the sister of AFL star Rory, and is dominated by Victorian players.

24-year-old Hynes, who was raised in Maiden Gully and spent her teenage years in Bendigo, has already represented Australia in netball and beach volleyball, and has been a member of the Australian indoor team since 2014.

Australian coach Shannon Winzer said the squad will give a strong showing in Bendigo.

“This year's Grand Prix team is a good mix of experience and fresh young talent,” Winzer said.

“I think the team is very exciting because they have an amazing work ethic and the competitive drive we're looking for heading into international competition.

“Every time we get together the team improves, and this year we have a good lead up to round one with not only a full training schedule but practice matches against University of New Mexico, New Zealand and Croatia, so we anticipate the team will peak at the right time.”

The full squad for Bendigo is;

  • Shae Sloane – setter – (VIC) - Captain
  • Sophie Paine – setter – (VIC)
  • Karley Hynes – pass hitter – (VIC)
  • Jaimee-Lee Morrow – pass hitter – (VIC)
  • Rebecca Reeves – pass hitter – (SA)
  • Hannah Martin – pass hitter – (VIC)
  • Jen Sadler – opposite – (WA)
  • Caitlin Bettenay – pass hitter – (QLD)
  • Jessica Croucher – pass hitter – (QLD) (Bendigo only)
  • Sophie Godfrey – middle – (WA)
  • Beth Carey – middle – (SA)
  • Rhiannon Watt – middle – (VIC)
  • Alice De Innocentiis – libero – (NSW)
  • Danusia Sipa-Borgeaud – libero – (ACT)

Head Coach: Shannon Winzer

Assistant 1: Lauren Bertolacci

Assistant 2: Jenny Becker (Bendigo only)

Team Manager: Chau Le

Physiotherapist: Henry Tram

Head of Delegation/Mentor Coach:  Russ Borgeaud (Bendigo only)

The squad, minus back-up libero Sipa-Borgeaud and pass hitter Croucher, will head to Colombia the following weekend for the second leg of the World Grand Prix circuit.

More glory for Australian beach pair on Asian tour

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MORE GLORY FOR AUSTRALIAN BEACH PAIR ON ASIAN TOUR

Australian beach volleyballers Nicole Laird and Mariafe Artacho del Solar have won their third Asian title in four outings with a straight sets win in the Tuan Chau Ha Long Open in Vietnam.

Laird and del Solar beat New Zealand’s Julia Tilley and Alice Bain 21-12, 21-17 to add the Vietnam title to wins in Thailand and Indonesia.

Their only defeat during their Asian tour came at the hands of fellow HelloWorld Volleyroos, Becchara Palmer and Phoebe Bell, at the Palembang Open in Indonesia one week ago.

Palmer and Bell finished the Ha Long Open in fifth position.

“The goals for us before our Asian tour were to practice being and playing a certain way, regardless of who was on the other side of the net or what pressures were around,” Laird said.

“I think for the most part we achieved that. In the moments that we didn’t, a lot of lessons have been learned.”

Laird and del Solar are the reigning World U23 Champions, and will attempt to qualify for this year’s Olympics when they contest the Asian Olympic qualifiers in Cairns in June.

In March they finished runners-up to China’s Chen Xue and Xinyi Xia at the Asian Championships at Sydney’s Manly Beach.

The Chinese pair are likely to start favourites for the Olympic qualifier, and Laird knows it will be a challenge.

“We still have a lot more growth left and a lot of lessons to learn as a team before Cairns, but we faced a few of the top teams in the past few weeks and it gives us the confidence we can keep moving in the right direction,” she said.

“We’re very excited that the tournament will be held in Cairns. It isn’t a city that has had too much domestic or international volleyball attention, so we’re keen to check it out and play in front of a home crowd.”

Cairns to host Olympic beach volleyball qualifier

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Cairns to host Olympic volleyball qualifier

27 April 2016

A major Olympic Games qualifying event will bring the Asia-Pacific region’s best international volleyball talent to Cairns in June.

Volleyball Australia has today announced that the AVC Beach Volleyball Continental Cup Final will be played on the Cairns Esplanade on 20-26 June.

Mayor Bob Manning said the event was expected to attract 64 teams from eight countries, along with officials and supporters.

“This tournament is a direct qualifier for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, which means we’ll be watching the absolute cream of the sport in action,” Cr Manning said.

“It will be broadcast into 800 million homes in Australia and Asia and help to grow the fantastic sport of volleyball in North Queensland. We thank Volleyball Australia for selecting Cairns to host this event.”

HelloWorld Volleyball Australia Chief Executive Officer, Mathieu Meriaux, said it was exciting to be bringing such a major event to Far North Queensland.

“Volleyball Australia is thrilled to bring world-class beach volleyball to Cairns, with the opportunity for Far North Queensland to witness not only the best HelloWorld Volleyroos, but also the best players from throughout Asia,” Mr Meriaux said.

“We are very grateful for the support shown already by Mayor Bob Manning and the Cairns Regional Council, and believe this will be the start of a long and exciting relationship between Cairns and one of Australia’s most popular sports.

“It is particularly exciting that Cairns will be the launch point for Asia’s best beach volleyballers on their way to the sands of Copacabana Beach.”

Cairns Regional Council supported the bid with a $150,000 contribution, which includes the provision of two specially-built show courts to be constructed adjacent to the existing Esplanade courts.

Six hundred cubic metres of sand will be brought in to create the 30m x 50m courts, which will be accompanied by a 1000-seat temporary grandstand.

Cr Manning said the investment was a good fit for the city.

“Given Cairns’ waterfront location, our city naturally extends itself to water or beach sports, in particular beach volleyball,” Cr Manning said.

“Through the hosting of this event, we hope to forge a relationship with Volleyball Australia that will lead to other opportunities to host national and international level volleyball here in Cairns.”

Having reaped two qualification victories on Wednesday to make the 32-team Main Draw, the 31st-seeded Artacho/Laird continued their winning momentum by defeating Germany’s second seeds Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst 2-0 (21-17, 21-19) in the morning and Czech Republic’s 15th seeds Kristyna Kolocova/Marketa Slukova 2-0 (21-16, 24-22) in the afternoon.

“Cool! It feels pretty unbelievable! Our first season, our first Grand Slam, come as qualifiers, it feels pretty unreal,” said Artacho.

The second set of the second round match between Artacho/Laird and Kolocova/Slukova was hotly contested and the Australians withstood two set points to level it at 20-all thanks to a Artacho block against Kolocova. After Artacho beat off the fourth set point of the Czech Republic with another block, an error of Slukova during a long rally awarded Artacho/Laird their first match point and Artacho converted on it with an accurate drop shot.

“It feels pretty unreal, but we came back in the second set. We just stuck together for every point and believed in each other and we can do it,” Artacho added. “I think that the most important thing is to believe in ourselves and say: we can do it, it's possible.”

Laird attributed the surprising wins to their concentration. “It’s our first Grand Slam and it's all a bit overwhelming. So breaking everything down, making it a lit bit smaller, a little bit simpler,” she said. “In the game just play our ball. Last point doesn't matter, the next point doesn't matter, and it’s all about what's happening in that one moment.”

Having secured their berth in the 24-team knock-out stage, Artacho/Laird now put their eyes on the last match and the top place of the pool.

“We always go one step at a time, even breaking the game down, thinking nothing, just one game at a time has helped us come this far,” Artacho said. “We still haven’t finish pool match, so our next goal is to finish atop of our pool. Being that our last game today, we can now switch off, relax and get ready for tomorrow's games.”

Home favorites Xue/Xia also had a fine start on Thursday as they swept Kazakhstan’s Tatyana Mashkova/Irina Tsimbalova 2-0 (21-17, 21-11) before beating Ana Gallay and Georgina Klug of Argentina 2-0 (21-19, 21-19).

“We were satisfied with our play today,“ said Xue, who paired with Xia to take the bronze medal at last week’s season-opening Fuzhou Open. “My partner is very young and we have a lot to improve together, so every match is a good test and challenge for us.“

It’s also the first Grand Slam event for the newly formed Chinese combination and they vowed to do as best as they. “It’s important for us to get more points and this Grand Slam is a great opportunity, we’ll do the best we can,“ Xue added.

Other top teams winning two matches in a row include Walsh/Ross of the United States, Juliana/Antonelli, Talita Antunes/Taiana Lima, Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas De Freitas from Brazil and Germany’s Karla Borger/Britta Buthe, Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler.

Thirty-two teams are playing a single round robin in eight groups with top three finishers from each group to advance to the 24-team knockout stage.

The 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar features a record purse of US$10.2 million with a season that extends from late April to mid-December competing at 21 venues in 18 countries. This year’s FIVB World Tour includes a record 10 FIVB Grand Slam events, the inaugural Grand Slam Finale and 11 FIVB Open Tournaments throughout the world, helping expand the door for development of the sport even further.

The 10 FIVB Grand Slam competitions, all double-gender, have eight with $800,000 in total purses while both The Hague, Netherlands and the Long Beach, Calif., USA event will have $1 million each in prize money, the most in FIVB Grand Slam history.

 

 

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