Volleyball News



Sydney, Australia, April 25, 2016 – For the third time in his volleyball career, Nathan Roberts turned up for a pre-Olympic training camp on the weekend.

The first time was 2004, when as an 18-year-old newbie he failed to make the cut for the final team.

Eight years later it was pre-London, and this time there was a happy ending. Roberts made the squad, and made his Olympic debut months later.

This time he’s very much the veteran, but at 30 he’s hardly in the old timer’s league.

Nonetheless, it’s a minor miracle Roberts is even in the running for Rio. The past couple of years, to put it mildly, have been horrendous.

“Since London, I hurt my knee in 2013 and that took a good year and a half to get better, and then I tore my calf, and that took a couple of months to get better, and then I had an issue with my elbow for the past 12 to 15 months,” he said.

“So it’s been a roller-coaster that has mainly been at the lower level, but hopefully the elbow feels alright, I still manage it a bit, but the surgery went really well.

Hopefully I’ll get a good couple of months training in before the qualifiers.”

This week members of the HelloWorld Volleyroos squad started rolling in from points all over the globe to the AIS training facility in Varesse, Italy.

They did the same thing four years ago, and that worked out well.

“Hopefully it’s a lucky charm,” Roberts said.

“We’re all pretty stoked to see each other again, and to hang out with the guys and speak some English.

“We’ve got some practice matches coming up against Norway, and then Italy, and we’re training three times a day, so there’s a fair bit going on.”

The full squad won’t get together for a couple of weeks yet, as several players are still involved in their domestic competitions.

But Italian-born Volleyroos coach, Roberto Santilli, is leaving no stone unturned preparing his team for the biggest challenge since taking over the role 14 months ago – Olympic qualification.

To get there Australia will need to finish top three at next month’s qualifier in Japan, or be at least the top-ranked Asian team.

Australia’s form against the top Asian teams in recent years has been patchy, but Roberts believes the Volleyroos have improved a lot.

“I don’t think we did that well at Asian Champs last year, or certainly not as well as we hoped, and we had mixed results at the World Cup,” he said.

“It certainly means we are not the favourites going into the tournament, which is just the way we like it.

“I don’t think anyone would discount anyone, but I think we have a lot more improvement than a lot of the other teams.”

Also working in the favour of the HelloWorld Volleyroos has been the exposure to top level volleyball.

Since London the men’s team has had two seasons in the prestigious World League, including last year in Group One alongside Brazil, Italy and Serbia.

It’s the sort of preparation veterans like Roberts only dreamed about before 2012.

“I think World League has been huge,” he said. 

“I had eight or nine years without playing teams in World League, but the young guys who are coming through now are getting time against quality opposition.

“In terms of preparation, it’s a real step up to be playing against teams like Brazil.”

Roberts is easily the most experienced member of the team, and even though he hasn’t been officially given a mentoring role, he’s happy to use his experience to help guide younger team members.

“Since 2010 I’ve been one of the oldest guys in the team, so it’s nothing new,” he said.

“I really enjoy seeing the young guys come in and play their first matches, and score their first points, so I’m happy to help guide them if they’ll listen to me.”


Al Rayyan through to Qatar Cup final, Holders Al Arabi & El Jaish to play decider

Doha, Qatar, April 25, 2016 – Last year’s runners-up Al Rayyan Club booked their place in the final of the Qatar Cup Volleyball Championship, overcoming a stiff challenge from Police in five sets on Sunday.
At the Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiya Arena, Al Rayyan clinched the second semi-final playoff  after defeating Police 3-2 sets (24-26, 25-16, 27-25, 21-25, 15-10) in one hour and 56 minutes and won the series 2-0.
In other playoff, El Jaish overcame Qatar Volleyball Association League winners Al Arabi 3-2 (25-23, 25-21, 21-25, 22-25 ,15-11). 
El Jaish had lost the opening match 0-3 but on Tuesday, they have now secured an opportunity to stun the mighty opponents and enter the second final of the season. In November 2015, El Jaish had beaten Al Arabi 3-1 to bag the QVA Cup, the season-opener.
Robertlandy Simon and Oreol Camejo inspired the comeback of El Jaish and won the bulk of points for them as well.
Ivan Zaytsev, Yoandry Leal Hidalgo, Jorge Gonzalez Garcia accounted for majority of points but it wasn’t their day as El Jaish built up a good lead in the tie-break set and went on to seal the superb victory.
The Al Rayyan and Police clash, after both shared the first four sets, appeared headed for a tame end as the former raced away to an 8-1 lead with Polish smasher Zbigniev Bartman and Russian Dmitriy Ilinykh combing well with Mubarak Dahi Waleed and Belal.
Police caused a big fright and rallied to tie the scores at 9 as Brazilian Williams Pedura Diaz and Silmar Antonio de Almeida sparkled with their net play. At 10-9, Ilinykh’s service could not be returned properly.
Bartman drilled a killer spike to make it 12-9 and it was followed by Diaz hitting out. Waleed and Belal then completed a brilliant block to set up the match point (14-10). Police then could not control a service, leaving Al Rayyan off the hook and win the tight contest.
Bartman produced fierce smashes and collected 24 points for the winners. Ilinykh contributed 15, while Belal and Waleed chipped in 13 and 12, respectively.
Diaz had an impressive tally of 36 points and Almeida earned 20. Other players could not support their main players much. If they have to do something stunning in the upcoming Emir’s Cup, they must work harder together as a unit.
El Jaish beat Al Arabi Club 3-2 (25-23, 25-21, 21-25, 22-25 ,15-11)
Al Rayyan Club beat Police 3-2( 24-26, 25-16 ,27-25, 21-25, 15-10)
Tuesday’s fixture
Al Arabi Club vs El Jaish