UTSSU Announce Partnership with Healthfix

The UTSSU Shield mens & womens Australian Volleyball League teams need to stay in shape, plus deal with niggles, throughout the season if they expect to be able to compete at the top level.  And to help them do this, the Shield have partnered with Healthfix in 2017.

Healthfix‘s newest clinic in the UTS precinct, combined with their two clinics in North Sydney gives our players and supporters options on where to attend a clinic, but it is the experience dealing with elite sportspeople that UTSSU really values.

Make sure you say hi when you see them courtside at an UTSSU game. Or to get in contact, call (02) 8065 0446, email getfixed@healthfix.com.au or book online or via the Healthfix app.

Sam getting some advice

Healthfix partnership with UTSSU AVL intro article

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2017 Squads Announced

Following a couple of very intense open trials, the 2017 UTSSU Shield training squad was finalised through the week. Thanks to everyone who trialed.  Looking forward to a very successful 2017 AVL!

Womens 2017 Squad:

Barbara Burba (Manly)
Britney Carlson (UNSW)
Emily Stirk (DRAG)
Kateia Barenaba (UTS)
Dede Stewart (UTS)
Kelly McLeod (UNSW)
Lacey Bruce (DRAG)
Emily Devine  (UTS)
Alex Rieckhoff (UNSW)
Alice De Innocentiis (Manly)
Brigitte Vanderham (UTS)
Harriet Gillson (Manly)
Laura Reeks (SNV)
Kristina Knezovic (USYD)
Monica Jones (UTS)
Gemma Kerrison (SNV)

Mens 2017 Squad:

Shane Alexander (UTS)
Dimi Sidiropoulos (UTS)
Brian Cho (USYD)
Nathan Lovett (UTS)
Mick Werner (USYD)
Tangifetau lelenoa (USYD)
Adam Penman (UTS)
Seth Chen (SNV)
Artem Ipatyev (UTS)
Craig Lowe (UTS)
Iosefatu Lafaele (Westside)
Sam Hansen (UTS)
Nathan Healey (UNSW)
Matt Reeks (DRAG)
Angus Webster (na)
Sam Halley (UTS)
Hayden James (DRAG)

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2017 Coaches & Expression of Interest for Players

Mark “Morky” Munter & Deb Chung are a pretty common sight around the courts in NSW and this looks set to continue in 2017. Morky will take back over the head coach of the men’s team in 2017 and Deb will be the Head Coach of the women’s team.

A number of assistant coaches are also on board so both coaches will have assistants who have previous AVL playing & coaching experience.

Now they just need players!

EDIT:  Trail dates have now been confirmed!!!
Both mens & womens trials will be held at the same times and venues.
Saturday 17/6/2017  7pm-9pm, Courts 2 & 3, Netball Central, Sydney Olympic Park
Saturday 24/6/17 7pm-9pm, Courts 2 & 3, Netball Central, Sydney Olympic Park

For further details about likely player commitments and costs please see 2017 UTSSU AVL Player Expression of Interest v2.

We are asking for all players, previous and new, to complete an expression of interest. You can fill in the form at the link or use the form below.

We look forward to hearing from interested players and to a successful year ahead!

Link to the expression of interest form



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Coaching Applications Open for UTSSU 2017 Season

Do you have what it takes to to coach a high performance team?  Do you have the required knowledge, organisation, motivational skills, and strategy. Do you have what it takes?

The UTSSU organising committee is currently calling for applications for coaches to be involved in the 2017 Australian Volleyball League program.  We are looking for applications for both head and assistant coaches for our mens and womens programs.

The position description and selection criteria can be found in this document. utssu-coaches-position-description-2017

The application form can be found here: http://goo.gl/forms/Kg3czQ8v0Z5g10Pm2

UTSSU looks forward to receiving applications from all interested and suitable candidates.

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Shield men finish their AVL 2016 campaign

On the 26/27th November the Shield men travelled to Canberra to take on the AIS Centre of Excellence team in the final round of Australian Volleyball League 2016.

Both teams were out of finals so it was pride that on the line, as well as third position in the male side of the strong eastern conference.

Game 1 saw the COE take a close first set 25:21.  The second set saw the Shield men strike back strongly, taking the second set 25:11.  The next two sets were both hard fought and close but the COE ended up on top 25:23 in the third and the fourth, taking the match 3:1.

The COE coach was pleased with the game from his young team.
“Today we need to be proud of the effort made by our athletes. We have been able to secure an important win that rewards the efforts we have made over the last months in our every-day training environment.”

Shield mens coach Nam Pham was disappointed that the performance wasn’t quite good enough.
“We were obviously a little short-handed today against a good young side. We had a great performance today from our two setters hitting in the front row, but it wasn’t enough. We didn’t have the consistency required, particularly with our serving, and came up short.”

Game 1 was covered by Echo Sports Network and the video can be watched here.


Game 2 on the Sunday was nearly a copy of the Saturday.  A close first set saw the COE take the first set 27:25.  The Shield men fought back to take the second 25:21.  The third set was taken by the COE 25:19, and the fourth 25:20 and the match 3:1.

Shield mens coach Nam Pham was disappointed but reflected on the performance of the year.
“A bit of a disappointing end to our 2016 season. We had good performances in a few places today but there wasn’t enough consistency to see us through. The COE team is obviously very young, and we are a young team ourselves. Hopefully we can use this experience to grow and return stronger next year.”

The game 2 video, as covered by Echo Sports Network can be watched here.


That completes the 2016 AVL season for the Shield mens and womens teams.  Finals will be played in Melbourne on the coming weekend

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Shield men go 2:0 against COE

The Friday night game in Sydney on 18th November for round 8 of the 2016 Australian Volleyball League saw the UTSSU Shield men and the AIS Centre of Excellence team look to settle third place in the eastern conference.  Both teams were now out of finals contention and were playing for pride and bragging rights.

The teams started out relatively evenly in the first set with some errors coming from both sides. It eventually finished with the Shield men taking it 26-24. The Shield started to hit their straps in the second and pulled away to take the second 25-19. The third set saw the Shield show a little more dominance against the young COE team and it finished 25-11.

Coach Nam was happy with the way the game was closed out by the young Shield men.
“We have been working hard to build consistency and after we got going today we were able to execute very well”.

After a quick trip down to Canberra the next day, Saturday 19th November saw the Shield men take on the COE at the Australian Institute of Sport. With many volleyballers in town for the Good Neighbour competition as well as the VA AGM, the small crowd was both knowledgeable and distinguished.

The Shield men started out a little flat, possibly suffering from their road trip. The COE started strongly though, and with some undisciplined play from the Shield men, the COE took the first set 25-20. The second set was a similar story and was won by the COE 25-21. The third set was tightly fought and saw plenty of hard spiking and good defence, though sometimes this was just about being where the ball was hit. It finished with the Shield men just getting over the line 27-25. Buoyed by the third set, the Shield men started to play with consistency and took the fourth 25-21. At 2 sets all, the Shield men looked most confident and took the fifth relatively comfortably 15-7 and the match 3:2.

Coach Nam was pleased with the fight put up by his team.
“With some injuries in the team we had to rely on a number of players to take on different roles and that worked for us today. Our 2 setters taking on front court hitting roles really gave us an edge. Was great to see our young team fight for the match when it could easily have finished 3:0 against us.”

The Shield and COE teams will rematch in Canberra this coming weekend.  Games will be streamed by the Echo Sports Network so if you aren’t travelling down you can catch them at 6pm on Saturday and 4pm on Sunday.

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Shield men lack consistency against strong Pirates side

The second last home round of the season, saw the Queensland Pirates travel to Sydney to take on the UTSSU Shield at Netball Central. This 12/13 November matchup was for week 7 of Australian Volleyball League 2016.

A close first set saw UTSSU make 3 service errors in a row heading into the 20’s. The young UTSSU team rallied to draw level at 23 all, only to be denied any further points by the experienced Queenslanders. A slow start and some strong hitting from Shane Alexander, saw the Pirates take the second comfortably 25-15. The third again saw a slow start by the home team, down 8-3 at the first technical. The boys managed to regroup and claw their way back to 12 all, but ultimately made too many unforced errors and lacked consistency, with the Pirates taking the set 25-20 and the game 3-0.

Zac shows he has the height

Zac shows he has the height

Coach Nam was “disappointed that once again we were able to match it with the best, but not able to take a set. The difference between our young group and the experienced Pirates is that they don’t make 2, 3 or 4 errors in a row. We have the skill, but not the consistency. Once we get that consistency, we will be a hard team to beat”.

Game 2 started very slowly for the Shield, with Will Mercer bombing down 11 unanswered jump serves, leaving UTSSU down 16:2 at the second technical. to their credit, the young team fought back from there to finish the set at 12-25 and taking some momentum into the second. The Shield came out fighting in the second matching it with the Pirates to 22 all. Unfortunately, that is where the scoring ended for the Shield. going down 22-25. The third followed a similar script with the Shield down 24-22, when a questionable hit inside the antenna call (that ball must have curved at least 2 meters! ) gave UTSSU some momentum. The Shield then leveled at 24 all before taking the set 27-25 and the game into a fourth set. The Shield got off to a slow start, but found their straps heading into the mid teens. A calf injury to Nathan Healy, and recurring ankle problems for captain Artem Ipatyev, slowed the team down and the experienced Pirates rolled over the top of the Shield 25-17, taking the game 3-1.

Nathan tries to break through the strong Pirates block

Nathan tries to break through the strong Pirates block

Coach Nam was pleased that his young players could at least take a set from the Pirates. “We still played inconsistently and had to continually remind our players of the game plan and how to execute their skills. When we did those thing right, we showed that we could match it with the best team in the competition. At the moment many of our players lack the discipline and the emotional buy in to get over the top of the quality teams. They are slowly beginning to understand that they need to step up their game from what they are used to at juniors and SVL – thus is a whole new level of competition”.

Next weekend sees the UTSSU Shield take on the ever improving Centre of Excellence in Sydney on Friday evening and on Saturday evening in Canberra.


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Shield men find the Heat tough to take in Canberra

The UTSSU Shield men traveled the 3 hours down the road to Canberra to play the Heat at the AIS on the weekend of 5/6 November for week 6 of the 2016 Australian Volleyball League.   The Shield men were hoping to come home with 2 wins to give themselves a good shot of making finals.  The local media in Canberra were even talking about how big the weekend was for the Heat men.

The first game was almost an exact replay of their first encounter in Sydney, where the Shield men took the first two sets, the Heat the 3rd and 4th, but unfortunately in this encounter, the Heat took the 5th and the game. The first set saw a very tight encounter, with the Shield edging out the Heat 25-23. Set 2 saw the young Shield team play some of the most dominant volleyball in its history with some excellent blocking, high hitting and strong serving. The UTSSU men closed out the second 25-14.  The start of the third saw the Heat get of to a good start, only to be found out of rotation. Some questionable refereeing saw them keep their points, be put into the correct rotation and play continue (to the amazement of both coaches). The Heat snuck home 25-22. Set 4 saw an ankle injury to captain Artem Ipatyev and the Heat asserting their dominance to take the set 25-16. The young Shield team succumbed to the Heat in the fifth and lost the game 3:2.

Ivor puts the ball away from high up Photo: Roy Meuronen Photography

Ivor puts the ball away from high up
Photo: Roy Meuronen Photography

Coach Nam Pham had mixed feelings about the game.
“We are obviously disappointed with the result, but happy with the the way our young team played in the first two sets especially. The second set we played our brand of volleyball and showed what we could do when we stuck to our game plan and systems”.

The Heat coach, Les Young paid tribute to the Shield teams efforts.
“With Travis Passier and Tom Faul unavailable, UTSSU took the opportunity to come out hard and managed to secure wins in the first two sets. It was a credit to some of the young UTSSU players including setter Alex Lyndon who were led well by their more experienced passer hitters. Heat regrouped with some minor adjustments to the line-up and controlled the next three sets to take the match in 5”.

In game two, the Shield men were unable to execute their skills and were comprehensively beaten 3:0. The Shield showed glimpses of brilliance, but not enough to trouble the experienced Heat team.

Nathan & Liam try to shut down a Heat attack Photo by: Roy Meuronen Photography

Nathan & Liam try to shut down a Heat attack
Photo by: Roy Meuronen Photography

“Today we missed the stability and experience that Artem brings to the team.” said coach Pham. “We had to keep reminding players to execute their skills, just as they do in training. When we executed those skills we played some pretty good volleyball – there just wasn’t enough of that today though”.

The Heat coach was happy with the reward for effort from his team.
“It has taken a bit of work to re-build the team from last year given the estensive roster changes as the majority of 2015 starting players departed to play in overseas leagues for the 2016/2017 season. It was great to start to see the fruits of the team labour. A solid team game and a good base to continue to build over the back end of the season”.

The Shield men take on the Queensland Pirates next weekend at Netball Central, where they must win both games comprehensively to keep their slim finals hopes alive.

A big thankyou to Roy Meuronen Photography for the pictures we have included in this post. You can check out the rest of their photos from this AVL weekend, plus some other shots from other rounds, and other events. These and other photos are available for purchase from Roy Meuronen Photography as digital downloads and prints.

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A weekend off

So what do the UTSSU Shield ladies and men do when they have the weekend off?

For Coach Nam, it was sharing his knowledge as he ran a Level 2 course for State Volleyball NSW.

Another day, another course taught by Nam

Another day, another course taught by Nam

For Jason and Liam it was all about finishing off their thesis’s (or whatever the plural of thesis is…).

Its all about using some data...and yes. It is volleyball data

Its all about using some data…and yes. It is volleyball data

Assistant coach David took some time out to go fishing.

Dropping a line in

Dropping a line in

Caitlin took it easy with some relaxing time in the park.



Marie’s trip to the park was a little more active.  And in typical setter style it was all about hitting the target.

Do you know the name of this game?  It's called Cornhole

Do you know the name of this game? It’s called Cornhole

Coach Yaegan though… That guy knows how to make use of a weekend off!

His weekend started off with some sustenance.

A smoothie to get things going

A smoothie to get things going

Which is, of course, just what he needed so he was ready to take on the playground!

Who doesn't love a slide?

Who doesn’t love a slide?

Then he moved onto some climbing.

One foot after the other is the secret

One foot after the other is the secret

But finding the playground limiting, he stepped up his climbing game with some natural elements.

Climbing game is strong!

Climbing game is strong!

Taking some time to enjoy the sights on the way home seems like a natural progression.



And when you do that sort of thing its amazing what you find.

Free stuff!

Free stuff!

Then you get home and do something more man-like.

Just me and my bike

Just me and my bike

Before taking in a quick drink at your own bar.

Its all about the ambience

Its all about the ambience

And checking in on your friendly neighbourhood bee.

So? Hows the abdomen?

So? Hows the abdomen?

Some chilling on the couch with some tunes.

Anyone got any requests?

Anyone got any requests?

And then a spot of light reading.

Light is relative...

Light is relative…

And after such a big day its great to get back into your own bed.

Its been a big day

Its been a big day

The Shield teams did enjoy their weekend off, but can’t wait to get back into the next round of Australian Volleyball League 2016.  They travel to Canberra to take on the Heat on the 5th and 6th November.


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Honours split in Sydney AVL Derby Round 2

The 22nd/23rd October saw the Shield host the second Sydney derby for week 4 of the Australian Volleyball League.

The Shield ladies were coming off a tough road trip to QLD and were looking to turn their 2016 season around.  The Amazons had been taken some time off after playing the Shield in week 1.

The Shield women came up against a highly experienced and skillful team in the Amazons. The first game was up and down, with two of the sets being held strongly by the Amazons. It was the second set, however, that showed the worth of each team, with it going down to the wire 26-24. The Shield women showed immense fortitude to come back in this set and keep plugging away at the significantly more highly fancied Amazon team.

Coach Yaegan took some positives, but was looking to put the game behind them
“The Amazons got the better of us today and gave us very little to work with. I was immensely pleased with how the team held themselves together to deliver a very strong performance in the second, but unfortunately, the blowout in the third set has left us a little disappointed. Tomorrow is a new day, and I am very confident our young players can push back much harder.”

Shield ladies repelling an Amazons attack

Shield ladies repelling an Amazons attack

The Shield men were also coming off a tough road trip were they had been beaten by the strong Pirates team, but knew they were coming into this game 2:0 from week 1 against the Warriors.  The Warriors hadn’t played since that week 1 encounter.

UTSSU got off to a slow start, with 17 year old Alex Lyndon promoted to starting setter, showing some early nerves. He quickly found his groove and spread the attack well. UTSSU lead throughout the set and were rarely troubled by the warriors throughout the rest of the game and had a comfortable 3:0 win (25-15, 25-17, 25-14)

Coach Nam Pham was “pleased with the win. We need to tighten up in several areas, but our young team certainly stuck to the game plan and generally executed their skills well.” When asked about the loss of the two senior setters for the first game, coach Pham was very upbeat: “The injury to veteran setter, Keith Suckling was a blessing in disguise, which has given Alex Lyndon this huge opportunity. Alex has certainly taken his opportunity and has proven that potentially he is one of the best young setters in the country.”

Alex running the offense

Alex running the offense

The Shield women came into day 2 keen to improve of their showing the day before, and perhaps looking to quiet the Amazons coach.

Following the strong performance by the Amazons in the first game, the second match was a complete turnaround, with the UTSSU Shield women’s team pushing the Amazons all the way to five. With many of the UTSSU players having never started an AVL match before this season, the team showed vast maturity beyond their years to pick themselves up from Saturday’s loss and consistently attack the enormously more seasoned Amazon team. With an average age of 20 and significantly less experience than the Amazons who boast multiple international players, some with Olympic experience, and a number of AVL medalists in previous years with other Sydney clubs, the UTSSU women fought and fought to take the third and fourth sets, and to control most of the fifth to take the game to the tightest possible margin.

Despite the 15-13 loss in the 5th set, Coach Yaegan was very proud of his players.
“This is a team that New South Wales can be proud of. It is a team of players, most of whom have come through the NSW junior ranks, that are having their first fully fledged shot at the top level. And today, they showed they deserved to be here. Moreover they emphasized that they will be huge force as we go forward. A handful of players in particular deserve special mention – Kateia Barenaba at 17 years old outfought and outlasted her opposition players, some of whom were over double her age and had played longer than she had been alive, and Kristina Knezović and Laura Reeks played out of their skin, showing up a number of players of whom they had performed understudy duties in previous years. Although we didn’t get the win, the performance we showed today emphasises that our NSW grown talent has a very bright future. Today the two teams were very equal, but if you compare the trajectories of each team, we are on the way up.”

Some support from the Shield men helped the Shield ladies take it to 5

Some support from the Shield men helped the Shield ladies take it to 5

After raucously supporting the Shield ladies through their game, the Shield men were in good spirits for their game against the Shield men and were looking to complete the sweep.

Day two, saw an almost identical result to the UTSSU Shield. The Warriors looked a little deflated and UTSSU took control of the game from the start and led throughout. Some solid attack through the middle by birthday boy, Jed Favel saw him amass 20 kills from 30 swings with only 2 errors. Lewis Jupp had another solid game at opposite with some great kills and huge blocks. UTSSU took the game comfortably 3:0 (25-15, 25-14, 25-17).  UTSSU now head into their bye round with 5 wins 3 losses.

Coach Nam Pham was “pleased to see that we could back up and execute a game plan on consecutive days. We have had a focus on playing with a positive attitude and focusing on 3 or 4 key aspects each game. The boys certainly look fitter and stronger than previous years and are able to play with the same intensity across the whole weekend – this is something we have been lacking for several years now.”

Lewis killing it on the outside

Lewis killing it on the outside

The Shield teams now have the next weekend off before they travel to Canberra to take on the Heat on the 5th/6th November.

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