World League 2005 News
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A who's who of Argentina Men's Volleyball

June 11, 2005 - Argentina is going through a tough time on their return to the World League. Currently bottom of Pool C, the South Americans have got a lot to look forward to over the remainder of the tournament, starting with their second match against Greece on Sunday as they strive to add to their solitary victory to date.

Meet the players

Name: Hernan Ferraro
Age: 37
Position: Setter
Nick Name: Harry Potter
Since 2002 he is unquestionably the best setter in the Argentine national men’s team. He will be playing his second World League campaign and will be the oldest player in the team, having already played the 2002 World Championship and the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. He is called “Harry Potter” because of his magic and the speed of his hands and at 1.71m tall, it is these skills which sees him compete with great effect of the court. He was the best setter in the Argentine National League in recent years for Rojas Scholem, Conarpesa and Rosario Scholem Sonder. He received the prize as best setter in the 2003 South American Championship and the 2004 Olympic Games Qualification Tournament in Venezuela.

Name: Santiago Darraidou
Age: 24
Position: Opposite
Nick Name: Zurdo
After some sterling performances in the 2001-02 National League for Koyote, Salta, the opposite put himself in the minds of Argentine coaches and fans alike. He seems the natural replacement for Marcos Milinkovic having proven himself with some outstanding performances in the 2002 World Championships while in Modena (Italy), Orestiada (Greece), and Fenerbahce (Turkey) he was consistently one of the best. With his powerful left hand featuring as a consistent weapon in any attack, he is being hunted by many National League teams as well as foreign country leagues this season.

Name: Pablo Peralta
Age: 24
Position: Middle Player
Nick Name: Pepe
Peralta, who is also in his second World League season, fought hard to make the Argentine national team and made it thanks to his big performances for Alianza de Cordoba last season. “Pepe,” who had realier played for Tenerife in the Spanish Superliga, will have a big chance, together with Porporatto, to be in the starting line-up adding a different combination with Alejandro Spajic. The boy from the city of Rosario is one of the best middle players and blockers of Argentina.

Name: Guillermo Garcia
Age: 21
Position: Opposite
Nick Name: Guille
After being the revelation of the National League with Alianza Cordoba and Bolivar over the past three seasons, the spiker from the city of Cordoba with start the 2005 World League in top form and having gained the great experience of playing in two National Leagues finals, one finishing champion and the other, in the second place. He can play as side hitter or opposite and will have his chance in the national team this season after playing in the 2003 South American Championship, the first team summoned by Fabian Armoa. This will be his first World League campaign.

Name: Gustavo Scholits
Age: 22
Position: Opposite
Nick Name: Tanza
With one World League season under his belt as opposite in 2002, Tanza wants to fight for the rite to replace Marcos Milinkovic. His strong offensive game gives him the advantage in gaining one place after being left out of the 2002 World Championship side. His height combined with his offensive power has helped him develop immensely in recent seasons.

Name: Gustavo Porporatto
Age: 24
Position: Middle Player
Nick Name: Porpo
He is one of the best international spikers amongst Argentine middle players and his last season in Argentina and Spain only confirmed his talent. He consolidated his national team place at the 2002 World Championships and in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, where he was one of the best players. He comes into the World League campaign having played one of the semifinals with Numancia in the Spanish Superliga together with the Argentine coach Ricardo Maldonado and the season before, he played in the finals with Swiss Medical Monteros finishing second. He gained a National League title with Rojas Scholem in the season 2001-02 and a second place, also with Rojas Scholem, in the season 2002-03.

Name: Alejandro Spajic
Age: 29
Position: Middle Player
Nick Name: Caño
A league champion with Lokomotive Belgorod in the Russian League this year, this San Juan player is one of the best middle players in the world and is one of the most experienced players in the team coached by Fabian Armoa. He has played in two Olympics campaigns (2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens) and seven World League seasons. Russia was not his only experience in a foreign leagues having played for Poitiers of France (2002-03) together with Leandro Maly.

Name: Gabriel Arroyo
Age: 28
Position: Middle Player
Nick Name: Gaby
One of the new faces in the team since 2003 he has been called in at different moments by Fabian Armoa. His incredible performances playing for Velez Sarsfield in the Argentine League made him well known in the local Volleyball world. Powerful and athletic, Gaby has a great jump and an huge wish to be part of the national team as a middle player. In the last National League he averaged more than 30 points per game - something very unusual for a middle player - with the surprising semifinalists Velez Sarsfield,

Name: Demian Gonzalez
Age: 22
Position: Setter
Nick Name: Demi
He showed up as a promising player in the team of Amigos in the Argentine national league with some exceptional performances. Having played for the Argentine junior side coached by Fabian Muraco, Gonzalez is one of the setters summoned to get experience with a view to being a replacement for Hernan Ferraro in the future. He will fight for one place with Ignacio Bernasconi with his precision, game awareness and etermination standing him in good stead.

Name: Lucas Chavez
Age: 23
Position: Opposite
Nick Name: Luketa

Chavez has been a regular in the national team and is coming off a great season with Alianza Cordoba in the Argentine League. He is powerful and put in some great performances in the pre-season matches against Cuba. He has played in the Austrian League and was the best scorer of the Top Team European Cup with Innsbruck. He will have his best chance this season to cement a position in the national side with the absence of Marcos Milinkovic leaving the door open for Chavez to take on an offensive role with the team.

Name: Ignacio Bernasconi
Age: 19
Position: Setter
Nick Name: Nacho
Bernasconi has been singled out as a setter with a bright future in recent years. He has the height and the quality of his hands is unquestionable, so everyone is expecting him to fill one of the most important roles in the Argentine national team in the footsteps of Waldo Kantor, Javier Weber and Hernan Ferraro. In the last two seasons he didn’t play in the starting line up due to the fact he was a junior player and Hernan Ferraro and the Argentine-Cuban player Gilman Cao Herrera stood in front of him. However, during that time he played in the national youth and junior sides with Horacio Dileo first and now with Fabian Muraco and received international recognition as the best setter at the 2004 South American Junior Championship.

Name: Jeronimo Bidegain
Age: 28
Position: Side Receiver
Nick Name: Jero
Bidegain has already been involved in the 2002 World Championships and the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Olympic Games where he performed admirably. He also played in two World League editions, 2001–02. He is coming from being one of the best players in the champion team, Swiss Medical Monteros in the 2004-05 national league and a second place finish the season prior. Bidegain is one of the leaders in the team due to his extensive experience, which includes playing for the champion Rojas Scholem side (season 2001-02) and for Italian club Modena and the Spanish Superliga team of Almeria in the season 2002-03.

Name: Alexis Gonzalez
Age: 23
Position: Líbero
Nick Name: Ale
After the 2001 World Youth Boys Championship “Ale” got his big chance to play on the international scene for Son Amar in the Spanish Superliga, however, the 2005 World League will be his first official experience with the men’s national team and he has big shoes to fill, replacing one of the best liberos in the world, Pablo Meana. Gonzalez has performed superbly in his two seasons in the Spanish Superliga, particularly in receiving and defence and now he wants to cement a spot in the national side with improved speed and reflexes.

Name: Javier Filardi
Age: 25
Position: Side Receiver
Nick Name: Javi
Filardi has already represented the national men’s side having played in the 2003 South American Championship with Fabian Armoa but in 2005 he will undertake his first World League experience. He is a solid player, in reception particularly and the Cordoba player will take advantage of every chance in the national team with an excellent pass and an effective spike. In the pre-season matches against Cuba he played several matches in the starting line up as libero but he is also very effective in spiking, proving how versatile he is.

Name: Leonardo Patti
Age: 26
Position: Side receiver
Nick Name: Mudo
A well known face on the international stage, Patti has already played in a World Championship (2002) and two Olympic Games (2000 – Sydney and 2004 – Athens) and is now the backbone to the national team. He transmits power and enthusiasm at all moments and enjoys an explosive offensive attitude. He has experienced success already with Bolivar in the Argentine national league and he was the main player in the Universidad de Buenos Aires side when they finished second in 2001-02. Patti has also played in the Spanish Superliga with Malaga and despite teams from Spain and Italy searching for his signature in 2005 he signed up with one of the most powerful teams in Argentina, Rosario.

Name: Marcos Dominguez
Age: 22
Position: Opposite
Nick Name: Pampa
“Pampa” returns to the national side after playing in the 2001 Grand Champions Cup in Japan, when many newcomers played in the light blue jersey for the first time. In the preseason matches against Cuba, Dominguez put on a powerful offensive effort, and will be a serious contender in the role of opposite in the World League. He is a very powerful spiker, as he showed while playing for Amigos in the Argentine national league, and he has a great counter attack play despite his lack of height.

Name: Maximo Torcello
Age: 24
Position: Side receiver
Nick Name: Maxi
Torcello returns to the national team for the first time since playing in the 2001 Japan Cup. He played a couple of seasons in Italy but returned to Argentina to play for Conarpesa last season where he was in outstanding form. He has an incredible spiking ability and gives the national team good reception in adition to his extra centimeters in blocking.

Name: Gastón Giani,
Age: 26
Position: Side Receiver
Nick Name: Tonga
Having played in the 2002 World Championships and the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, “Tonga” is now a regular in the Argentine line up just for his spiking alone. His second World League campaign could be the tournament that makes him an international star, although after three consecutive seasons with Tenerife in Spain, some would argue he already is one.
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