National Teams
Volleyroos taking on the Challenge

Volleyroos taking on the Challenge

The Women’s Volleyroos squad at the Asian Challenge Cup had a slightly younger feel to it and with good reason.

With barely a handful of players returning to the national set-up post-COVID, the opportunity has presented itself in recent years to blood some new players, and now an emerging crop of stars could potentially be in the frame for an Olympic berth.

Australia has not fielded a women’s indoor team at the Olympic Games since Sydney 2000, and while still hopeful of earning a place at LA 2028, the Volleyroos a place at Brisbane 2032 as the host nation.

Eight years is a long time in sport, however this team took its first steps towards that journey over the past week by scoring Australia’s best result at an Asian women’s event in more than four decades.

The Volleyroos fourth place finish at the Asian Challenge Cup saw them only taken down by the gold and bronze medallists leaving coach Russell Borgeaud buoyed by what this squad can achieve.

“I’m very happy – the team were amazing,” he said. “Because we get limited time together in preparation, it took a little while to get that teamwork firing to a higher level.

“They’re still quite a young group – e had two girls who were 19, one who was 18 and whole bunch around the 20 to 22 mark as well.

“As we head towards Brisbane it makes sense to build experience and depth of a broader group.”

Borgeaud was not just happy with the end result which saw them playing off for a medal; the composure the Volleyroos found to dig deep when under pressure developing a key trait which will hold the side well into the future.

“It’s been a long time since they’ve won that many matches and particularly the manner they had to win them in – very tough, very close under some real pressure,” said Borgeaud. “The Iran game we felt like we needed to win two or three times – it was a really great experience to understand the resilience they have and also their capacity to deal with that pressure and stand up.”

Captain Mikaela Stevens can see the clear sides of improvement the side has made in recent times and is excited by the opportunities ahead for the young squad. 

“We knew coming into this tournament that had to play well beat some teams that we have been narrowly beaten by over the past two years in order to cross over into semi-finals,” she said. “We are so proud that we were able to achieve this goal and finish second in our pool.

“The whole team and myself especially are extremely proud of how we have played this tournament and the way we represented how our program has progressed over the last five years.

“This is only the beginning for many of our young talented players and squad, and we are looking forward to continuing our international season, gaining more experience and improving before we head back overseas to our respective seasons.”

Highlighting the level to which some players grew at the Challenge Cup, Caitie Tipping’s dominant form saw her named Outside Hitter of the Tournament following the final. In her first tournament after a year out with injury, it was an incredible feat for the 23-year-old.

The Women’s Volleyroos will come together later this year for more fixtures in Japan and New Zealand before the VTV Cup in Vietnam.

​​2024 AVC Challenge Cup for Women
Manila PHI | 22-29 May 2024

Australia d Chinese Taipei 3-1 (23-25, 25-15, 25-19, 25-18) Click here for full replay
Philippines d Australia 3-1 (22-25, 25-19, 25-16, 25-21) Click here for full replay
Australia v India (26-24, 25-16, 19-25, 29-27) Click here for full replay
Australia d Iran 3:1 (26-24, 25-23, 25-27, 31-29) Click here for full replay

Vietnam d Australia 3:0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-16) Click here for full replay

Philippines d Australia 3:0 (25-23, 25-15, 25-7) Click here for full replay

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