Sydney, Australia, March 28, 2014 – Volleyball Australia have announced the appointment of coach Mark Barnard, who will lead the women’s national volleyball team for the 2014 FIVB World Grand Prix campaign.
‘Mark comes with extensive coaching experience including former assistant and head coach of the Australian women’s team and nine years collegiate experience coaching at Oregon State University in Oregon working with Terry Liskevych, former US national women's team head coach, which will be of great benefit to the programme and team,’ said Matt Sebbens, Volleyball Australia High Performance Manager.
Barnard will take over from coach Pauline Manser who has led the team since 2010. Known for her commitment and dedication to the programme, Manser’s efforts with the team were demonstrated through the team's results in recent international competitions.
Australia’s women’s team, the ‘Volleyroos’, will compete in Group 3 in the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix 2014. They will play their first matches from July 25 to 27 in Kazakhstan against the host country, Croatia and the Czech Republic. From August 1 to 3, they will play in Porec, Croatia where they will play against their hosts as well as Bulgaria and Kenya.
It will be the first time in over a decade that Australian athletes and coaches with compete at this level.
The 2014 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix will see more action than ever before, with the FIVB's premier annual women's volleyball tournament increasing to a record number of 28 participating teams.
Following in the footsteps of the FIVB Volleyball World League, the number of countries competing in the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix has increased from 18 in 2013 to 28 in 2014.
The 28 teams are split into three groups based on world ranking (with the exceptions of Belgium and Cuba, who had qualified via continental qualification tournaments, and Australia who participate as part of the Oceania development program). A Drawing of Lots was conducted on December 2, allocating teams into the respective pools (by group) based on a predetermined formula.
Group 1 (Pools A to I) features 12 teams including defending champions, London 2012 Olympic winners and world No. 1 Brazil, USA, Japan, China, Russia, Italy, Serbia, the Dominican Republic, Germany, Korea, Turkey and Thailand.
Group 2 (Pools J to O) includes eight teams - Poland, Peru, Puerto Rico, the Netherlands, Argentina, Canada, Cuba and Belgium.
Group 3 (Pools P to S) also includes eight teams - Kenya, Algeria, Kazakhstan, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Mexico, Bulgaria and Australia.
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