Olympian Audrey Cooper ‘honoured’ to carry Olympic Flame

GB Women’s Head Coach and Olympian Audrey Cooper has been chosen as one of the torchbearers of the London 2012 Olympic Torch as part of its journey across the world on it’s way to lighting the Olympic Flame at the Opening Ceremony on 27th July 2012.

The Olympic Flame will come within 10 miles of 95% of people in the UK, Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey and will enable local communities to shine a light on the best their area has to offer.

The London 2012 Olympic Torch design features 8,000 small cut-out circles, representing the 8,000 inspirational people who will carry it on its journey around the UK over 70 days between 19 May – 27 July 2012. Audrey is one of 7 ‘volleyball’ torchbearers and will carry the Torch during the Loughborough leg on Tuesday 3rd July.

The strapline of the Torch Relay is a ‘Moment to Shine’ with the torchbearers demonstrating the Olympic spirit is alive and well across the UK. The nomination programmes run by Locog, Coca-Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung earlier this year focused on recognising and rewarding people with a story of personal achievement and or contribution to the local community.

Heralding from Whitburn Scotland, Audrey has been involved in volleyball for over 35 years, 25 as an athlete and 11 as a coach. She has not only achieved phenomenal success but also ‘given back’ to the sport she loves.

As a junior player, she competed in Scotland, moving South to England to develop her game where she played for Hillingdon and then competed for over 18 years as setter for London Malory, captain for the last 10 years. Internationally, Cooper competed for over 20 years - indoor and beach – Scotland Junior & Senior, England Senior, GB.

On the sand she remains GB’s most successful pairing with Amanda ‘Mo’ Glover having competed on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Series tour (1993-2000) consistently ranked in the World’s top 20. Her ultimate highlight was qualifying for, and representing GB, at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games exceeding all expectations (18 teams, seeded 13th, finished 9th). Other key success include 9th place in the World Championships and 3rd in the European Championships.

Towards the end of her playing career, Audrey started coaching and quickly made the step to international level, first as Assistant and then Head Coach of the England Senior Women’s Indoor National Team. In 2006, she moved to Sheffield to take the role of GB Indoor Volleyball Assistant Coach in December, subsequently becoming head coach in 2009. Despite huge funding issues, Audrey is driving the GB Women’s programme to new heights, determined to leave a legacy in the sport.

Legacy is also important from a coaching perspective and to support this, Audrey has undertaken the role of mentor for a number of UK coaches in both volleyball and other sports and has been recruited by UK Sport to assist with the delivery of their Elite Coach Apprenticeship Programme.

The Olympic Flame unites the world, travelling across all continents and Cooper says she is ‘honoured to have been nominated and looking forward to playing a small part in the Flame’s journey to London, alongside some inspirational torchbearers’.  We congratulate Audrey on recognition of her contribution to our sport and hope she enjoys this unique and fabulous opportunity. See some awesome pictures of the history of the torch relay here.

We will have an in-depth interview with Audrey later this week where she tells us her thoughts about the big summer ahead, the challenges and opportunities for her as head coach, what its like being an Olympian and what she’s been doing in the not-so-off-season! In the meantime, if you want to know what the Torch Relay is all about, check out this highlights video from Athens 2004….

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Becoming a habit…Bertelli overhead kick against Volero…again!

In November GB Libero Maria Bertelli surprised league leaders Volero with an overhead kick defence that won the point. In almost an action replay of that one, she did it again on Wednesday night..again, against Volero! Check it out below…

See it from the side…from Maria’s view….

If you want to see more volleyball defence kicks, check it this little compilation we did earlier in the season! Includes Brazil’s libero Fabi and beach player Shaylyn. Enjoy!

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Weekend Preview March 16th-18th

Lynne Beattie

Superliga, Spain
Lynne Beatties, Las Palmas play Tenerife Cuestra Piedra Santa Cruz on saturday.  On paper it should be a comfortable game for the Las Palmas team who are hoping to re ignite their winning ways at home this weekend! Beattie comments:  “Despite a few tough results over the past 2 weeks, the team has bounced back this week in training and we are ready to perform!”

Janine Sandell

It’s a top of the table clash in Spain for Janine Sandell’s Valeriano Allés Menorca Volei who play 2nd placed Nuchar Eurochamp Murillo this weekend.

Grace Carter

DEF & Pro A, France
This Saturday Carter’s TFOC play away against 8th place Nantes. Things are very close at the bottom half of the table with just 5 points separating 11th and 7th place, anything could happen in these last two games, but TFOC need a win to stand a chance of staying in PRO A.

Rachel Newton

Newton’s Quimper Volley 29 have their last match of the league on Saturday. They are back in pole position and take on 7th placed Volley-ball Tulle Naves. With second and third placed teams hot on their heels a win is needed to definitely secure the top spot and guarantee promotion to PRO A.

Maria Bertelli

NLA & NLB, Switzerland
 On Sunday evening Maria Bertelli’s Volley Koeniz are away against Sagres NUC….the winner of the match will make it to the playoff Final. For Koeniz though, they have to win 3-1 or 3-0. Game on!

Thom’s VBC Biel-Bienne play away to Dudingen on Sunday. Thom comments…..“Last time we played this team we lost in 5 so we are hoping to turn the result around this time. With only 2 matches left we have nothing to lose.”

Wicks & Michel

Bundesliga, Germany
It’s the last weekend of regular league play in Germany and with Aachen lying 10th and not in the play-offs it is their last game of the season. They are away from home on Saturday against Wiesbaden who are in 7th place. It is a tough game for Wicks and Michel but after narrowly missing out in 5 sets when they last met, Aachen are looking to even the score and finish the season strong.

Bragg’s Aurubis Hamburg are away to Potsdam on Saturday and will be looking for a clinical performance in preparation for the play-offs.

Vicky Palmer & Amigos

Eres Divisie, Belgium
Palmer’s Gea Happel Amigos Zoersel play Volley de Haan this weekend. Amigos came out with a 3-0 win last time they met and are looking for a similar result.

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10/11 March: Cup in France & Spain..Quimper respond with vital league win

 With the season nearing its end, the results become even more crucial than usual, here’s the news on the weekends results…

France: Carter’s TFOC lost 3-0 v Mulhouse

Grace Carter

Last Friday Grace Carter’s TFOC played in the semi-final of the Coupe de France against 3rd place in the league, Mulhouse.

TFOC came out fighting in the 1st set, going point for point all the way, with both teams having strong side-out play. Mulhouse just edged ahead to take the set 25-23. The second was more of the same, although the fast offence of Mulhouse and too many service errors from TFOC, meant Mulhouse took the second set 25-19. The momentum was clearly with Mulhouse and despite a great fight from TFOC, they lost the set and match 25-17. Continue reading

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VIDEO: Maria Bertelli’s Koniz in Play Off action

It’s play off time in Switzerland, check out GB libero Maria Bertelli in action in crucial play off game vs Volley Franche Montagne. Koniz are in yellow, playing at home and take a crucial win. Following Captain Lynne Beattie’s recent ‘Captain’s Corner’ about celebrating we are pretty sure she would like some of these!

Thanks to Marc Raeber for sharing this video.

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Thoughts, love and positive energy to Carly Williams

Carly Williams is well known in the English volleyball world and has many friends across the country and also in the GB Women’s programme, some who are very close and have been for a number of years.

Carly has been teaching in Abu Dhabi for the last few years but has always supported the GB Women’s progress from afar. Last week Carly was volunteering at a water station at the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon when one of the racers collided with her and caused serious injuries. Carly has remained in hospital, unconcious since, with her condition critical but stable.

Without doubt, this is a horrific time for her family and close friends. Carly is a fighter, we as a team and past fellow players have seen that, both on the court and off. We want to let Carly and her family know that we are thinking of you all, sending lots of love, thousands of positive thoughts every single day and are praying for some good news soon.

 

Posted in Team |

Weekend Preview March 9th-11th

Lynne Beattie

Superliga, Spain
Lynne Beatties Las Palmas have travelled to Salou, near Barcelona for the Queens Cup this weekend.  They will take on Haro in the quarter finals on Friday night, and a win will see them play in a Battle of the Brits on Saturday against Janine Sandell’s Menorca in the semi finals, with the finals being held on Sunday. Las Palmas go into tomorrow’s match as the under dogs but are confident they have what it takes to progress to the semi-finals.

Grace Carter

DEF & Pro A, France
This weekend is the Coupe de France finals, and on Friday night Grace’s TFOC are in the semi-finals against Mulhouse, who are currently 3rd in the league. It will be a tough game for TFOC, but they are coming off a mid-week win, so momentum is on their side.

Rachel Newton

Following a loss last weekend Rachel Newton’s Quimper Volley 29 are now lying in 2nd place in the league, with the top 3 teams all joint on points. It is nearing the end of the season and therefore a must win against 6th placed Vannes. A clinical win is a must with the league placing possibly being decided on sets for and against.


NLA, Switzerland
No games this weekend in the Playoff’s of the Swiss NLA due to it being Cup Final weekend where Volero take on VFM.

Jenn Thom

In the Playouts Jenn Thom’s VBC Biel-Bienne play Sm’Aesch away this Sunday. Thom comments…..”We lost to Sm’Aesch two weeks ago and it has been a strange training week for us so hopefully we will all come to the match ready to play. Still yet to win a game so still sitting bottom we really have nothing to lose now. Everyone is still motivated so hopefully we can start to demonstrate that this weekend.”

Ci Michel

Bundesliga, Germany
It is Alemannia Aachen’s last home game of the season and Lucy Wicks & Ciara Michel take on local rivals Munster who are having a strong season lying in 4th place. Aachen are looking to finish the season with a strong performance at home.

Bragg’s Aurubis Hamburg  play VCO Berlin at home on Saturday.

Palmer's Amigos

Eres Divisie, Belgium
Palmer’s Gea Happel amigos face Richa Michelbeke away this weekend. Richa Michelbeke are currently sitting two places above Amigos in the league and will definately be a tough team to play. Last time we played Michelbeke it went to a five set match with Amigos winning the game. Michelbeke will be looking to even up the score and with home advantage are looking as favourites to win. Amigos are looking for another big result this weekend but know its not going to be easy.

UK
In the last match of the actual season Malory Eagles travel away this weekend to Ashcombe who are fight for survival. Malory are hoping to get back into winning form heading into the play offs.

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Getting Girls Active - Coach Cooper inspires children in Leicester

Leicester City School Sport Partnership hosted its seventh annual Women in Sport and Physical Activity (WISPA) conference Braunstone Leisure Centre this week. GB Women’s Head Coach Audrey Cooper was invited to inspire young females to take part in volleyball and sport and physical activity in general.

Held during international women’s week, the conference targets ten year 9 girls from each of the 16 secondary schools and 3 special schools within the Leicester City Area. The conference which is organised in partnership between Leicester City School Sport Partnership and Leicester City Council is designed to re-engage Year 9 girls who wouldn’t usually be interested in PE and encourage them to participate in more physical activity by giving them the opportunity to take part in a variety of new and exciting activities.

Inspiring the next generation (image: Volleyball England)

This year’s event was the biggest yet and volleyball was one of the sports identified. Crown Hills, one of the participating schools is already part of our Adopt An Olympian scheme. Prior to the event the schools were provided with promotional material about the GB Women’s team, on the day more than 50 young girls chose to give volleyball a try, to be coached by an Olympian and get the opportunity to ask questions of the current GB Women’s Head Coach.

Gerard van Zwieten, Volleyball England’s Community Development Coach comments:

“We had over 200 girls today and in the volleyball we had roughly 55 girls participating in the taster sessions. It was great and most of them were impressed by the fact that most of the GB girls started so late playing volleyball. They all felt as a result that they have a chance as well. Audrey did an excellent Q&A session and helped me with one of the taster sessions. The girls loved it! I had several girls afterwards asking me where the nearby volleyball club is and that is why we all do it.

Thank you to Cary Wicks, the promotion material was fantastic, the posters were very very visible and were admired by many girls and adults. Thankyou! “

 

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