The volleyball squad to represent the Australian Uniroos at the 29th Summer Universiade in Taipei has been selected as the team looks to improve on results in Gwangju two years ago.
In 2015, the Uniroos won just one game but three times they took the contest to five sets which is something to build on in this tournament with a few more experienced players keen to make their mark in green and gold.
On a whole, the team is young but does feature a number of promising players that have played exceptionally well representing their universities in Australia, the United States and Canada.
“We have a couple of players returning from the previous Universiade in Korea, but we are still a young side with several of our players having just completed their first year of University,” head coach Liam Sketcher said.
“The expectations are that we will give our best performance in every game, as the level of the opposition is largely unknown, but the exposure to international competition is important to the development of our future national team.
“We will definitely face some very strong opponents, like the Russian team, but there will be opportunities for us to pick up some wins.”
One of those players who will have an impact is civil engineering student Tom Hodges who has already represented Australia at senior level while studying and playing at The University of California in Irvine.
Hodges, who is also specialising in structural engineering, has his mind set on returning to play for the Australian Volleyroos this summer and would then like to go and play professionally in Europe.
“A player to keep an eye on for us this tournament is Tom Hodges, he has had a very successful season at The University of California, Irvine and was an honorary mention All-American,” Sketcher added.
“He has already played for the senior national team during the last international season and his experience and leadership will be invaluable to us.
“For the future, we have two young middles in Lewis Kehl and Steve Macdonald, who both have great potential.
“For both of them this will be the highest level of competition they have played as key members of the team so I am keen to see how they take on that challenge.”
Curtis Stockton will likely be a big scorer for the team after coming off a record-breaking season in Canada representing The University of Calgary in his final season with the Dinos.
“I have just completed my last season at The University of Calgary so I am looking at professional contracts for the upcoming season,” Stockton said.
“My last season was extremely exciting for me at Calgary, I broke three Canada West records with a 40 kill-game, 45-point game and most points ever scored in a season.
“At the last World University Games I was not a starter but came off the bench to contribute, it was an exciting experience in South Korea in 2015.
“However, from what I have seen this year we have a solid all-round team and I look forward to contributing and representing Australia again.”
In the Uniroos’ group at the Games will be Russia, China, Czech Republic, Honk Kong and Romania.
|Samuel Alves||University of Brunswick (USA)|
|Matthew Aubrey||University of Regina (CAN)|
|Samuel Brisbane||Mount Royal University (CAN)|
|Nicholas Butler||Curtin University|
|Simon Coat||N. Alberta Institute of Tech (CAN)|
|Thomas Hodges||The University of California - Irvine|
|Lewis Kehl||University of Canberra|
|Steven MacDonald||University of Canberra|
|Malachi Murch||University of South Australia|
|Curtis Stockton||University of Calgary (CAN)|
|Tim Taylor||University of Calgary (CAN)|
|Elliott Viles||University of Brandon (CAN)|
|Liam Sketcher (Head Coach)|