The Australian Volleyball Academy (AVA) is excited to announce two more graduates from the AVA Program, with Lauren Cox headed to University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and Tara Maland signed with Swedish team Gislaved Volleyball Club.
Cox has been awarded a four-year scholarship for UMBC, which competes in the NCAA Division 1 (the highest division in American college volleyball).
Having been at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra for the past three years, Cox is excited to take this next step in her volleyball career.
“Over the past three years, the AVA program has enabled me to develop as a high performance athlete and a person,” Cox said.
“The experience and knowledge I’ve gained has formed the perfect foundation for the next step in my volleyball career.
“I’m excited for the future and extremely grateful to have been given this opportunity,” she said.
AVA Beach Coach Anne Meijnderts said she is excited to see what Cox can achieve in America.
“I’m very proud to see Lauren graduate on to such a well-established college volleyball program in the United States,” Meijnderts said.
“As an athlete, her competitiveness, her drive and the high bar she sets for herself really set her apart from others and I’m sure she’ll maximise every opportunity she created for herself within the UMBC program.
“On a personal note, over the past two years, I’ve got to know Lauren as a kind, caring person who is a great mentor for younger teammates, and I’m confident that she is a great addition to the UMBC team,” she said.
Tara Maland has spent the last few years in Canberra training with the Women’s Volleyroos squad at the AVA, and is excited to be heading to Sweden for the upcoming season with club Gislaved Volleyball Club.
“I am very proud to take this next step in my volleyball career and excited to join Gislaved VK,” Maland said.
“This is something I have been working towards for a while now, so to have officially signed a professional contract is a great feeling.
“I am extremely grateful for all the staff, coaches and teammates that have helped me in my volleyball journey so far, especially those in Canberra at the AVA.
“Also definitely worth mentioning my family, friends and partner that have been an amazing support network,” she said.
Having worked closely with Maland as part of the women’s Volleyroos program for a number of years, Head Coach Russ Borgeaud said he is excited for the next chapter “.
“It is exciting to see Tara graduate to a professional club in Europe,” Borgeaud said.
“Tara has been a member of the Australian National Team for a number of years already, but this will accelerate her improvement as an athlete.
“We look forward to having her back with the Volleyroos next year as the team continues to transition towards being a fully professional unit,” he said.
The AVA would like to wish Lauren and Tara the best of luck with their new teams, and look forward to seeing them compete.
The Australian Volleyball Academy (AVA) is a national volleyball development program and was created with the purpose of coaching exceptional individuals to identify and pursue their sporting goals, whilst also supporting them with their personal development.