Volleyball Australia has released the first roster for their new Centre of Excellence at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra featuring a group of young athletes they hope will make the transition towards the national team.
Twelve athletes were named to inaugural Centre of Excellence roster, several of which are members of the Australian national team’s U23 squad. Both Jennifer Sadler from Perth and Melbourne’s Jaimee-Lee Morrow who represented Australia at last season’s FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix bring plenty of experience to the newly created group of prosperous athletes.
The squad will be led by national coach Shannon Winzer whose been the head coach of Australia’s national team since January 2016. Winzer was the head coach of the U23 Victoria team that she led to gold medals in both 2012 and 2013.
On the new group that she’ll be working with, Winzer said, “it’s very exciting that we have a group of players who are willing to commit to a high performance career in volleyball, and by taking a position at the CoE they are sending us a message that volleyball is a top priority and they want to work towards the next step in their careers.”
Currently, Australia has five national-level athletes competing globally on international teams, a number that Winzer hopes to increase through the CoE.
“The CoE is part of the pathway to becoming a Volleyroo [Australian national team member], but we will heave a few Volleyroos training at the CoE working towards getting professional playing contracts overseas.”
The CoE is a huge step forward for women’s indoor volleyball. Since the 2012 Olympic Games, according to the FIVB, there was been no funding given to the sport.
All 12 athletes will be training full time at the facility while they pursue international contracts and overall improvement.
CoE Class of 2017 Roster
- Aggie Kudziela (20), Queensland (passer/hitter)
- Jamie-Lee Morrow (24), Victoria (passer/hitter)
- Jennifer Sadler (23), Western Australia (opposite)
- Kathryn Chen (26), Victoria (libero)
- Courtney Durston (18), Queensland (m/opposite)
- Kiara Olsson (18), Queensland (passer/hitter)
- Elissa Blowes (24), New South Wales (passer/hitter)
- Mikaela Stevens (18), New South Wales (setter)
- Lily Borger (21), New South Wales (libero)
- Wendy Edwards (28), New South Wales (middle)
- Anisa Mackenzie (24), South Australia (m/opposite)
- Jenny Tait (21), Queensland (m/opposite)