Defending champs to open NVL, tickets on sale

When the 2022 National Volleyball League gets underway in late October, it will start with a bang with the men’s and women’s defending champions in action from the first whistle.

The NVL returns for the second edition of the national league competition on October 28 at the Auckland University of Technology Sport and Fitness Centre (North Shore Campus).

And the competition will make a fast start on Friday’s opening day, with the defending women’s champions Midlands Te Waiora in action against Central Hauwhenua on the show court while Southern Pounamu, the men’s winners in 2021, open their campaign against Northern Moana on Court 2.

The competition continues throughout Friday and Saturday morning with the round robin phase before the volleyball heats up with the semi-finals on Saturday afternoon and evening.

Sunday’s schedule includes the bronze medal matches before the women’s (1pm) and men’s (3pm) finals complete the weekend’s action.

Click here for the full draw for the 2022 National Volleyball League (PDF).

National Volleyball League Manager Susan Blundell-Dorrington can’t wait for the competition after the reschedule from earlier in the year.

“There has been huge amount of work done to confirm the 2022 edition of the NVL,” Blundell-Dorrington said.

“It’s great to have the draw confirmed and to open with the defending champions in action straight away is a fitting way to start the 2022 competition.

“Opening tickets for sale is exciting, we’re getting closer to the first ball being hit and we can’t wait to see everyone in action in Auckland in October.”

Tickets are on sale and available through Eventbrite (see below for individual session links:

Session tickets are priced at:
- Adults starting at $20
- Students starting at $10
- Families (2 adults, 2 children) starting at $40

Corporate Hospitality tables seating 10 people are available for purchase also – contact Susan Blundell-Dorrington via susan@volleyballnz.org.nz for more information.

Broadcast details for the competition will be confirmed shortly.

Click here for the online home of the NVL, including full squad and draft information, interviews, audio and more as move towards October 28.

National Volleyball League 2022
October 28-30
Auckland University of Technology Sport and Fitness Centre (North Shore Campus)
Tickets – via Eventbrite (click the links below for ticketing for each session)

NVL set for Southern blast

When the National Volleyball League hits the court in Auckland in October, the league should prepare for a flex of South Island muscle if Head Coach Mary Edmondson and the Southern Pounamu women’s team have any say about it.

Edmondson, a long-time volleyball coaching stalwart based in Christchurch, has assembled a squad connected to their Te Waipounamu roots with eight of the team of 12 team picked from Christchurch and Nelson.

The Southern Pounamu coach says that is very much a deliberate move.

“Our Southern Pounamu team has a strong southern base,” Edmondson said.

“We will work to use the individual strengths as a group to best effect. I enjoy working together with players and coaches to develop an inclusive team culture where everyone feels supported, important and wants to learn.”

Edmondson and Assistant Coach George Koria, firmly backed local and young with their first pick of the draft, grabbing junior international Taylah Holdem at number three before rounding out the team’s marquee contingent with Petra Manderson at number six and Kalani Ruri at number 11.

“Taylah, the young hammer, has the ability to put the ball away in the frontcourt and backcourt. Petra is a player with US College and international experience, and she has an extensive toolbox. Both Petra and Taylah have strong passing skills will give us an excellent platform on which to launch our attack.

“Kalani also comes with US College experience and the ability to play setter or right side which allows us flexibility and she will be a big blocking presence on the right side.”

With those core components in place, Edmondson is quick to remind us that reaching their potential in October’s NVL will rest on how fast the group can blend and transfer into on-court execution.

“Our marquee players will be important, but volleyball is a 12-person game so how quickly we can build connections and discover each other's strengths will determine our success,” Edmondson said.

Those Southern connections just may help speed up that process.

The 2022 National Volleyball League hits the court in October at the AUT Fitness and Sports Centre (North Shore Campus) in Auckland.

NVL rosters set for 2022

The second edition of the National Volleyball League (NVL) player draft wrapped up on Sunday night, with the eight teams now set for the competition later this year.

After the inaugural NVL men’s and women’s competition held in June and July last year across two weekends in Auckland and Christchurch, the 2022 edition hits the court October 28-30 at Auckland University of Technology’s Sport and Fitness Centre (North Shore Campus).

The Marquee Player Draft, held on August 14, filled the first three slots of each team before the wider player draft on Sunday completed the rosters with a raft of talent spread over each of the four men’s and women’s sides.

Canterbury setter Nicky Pio was taken with the number one pick by Central Hauwhenua Women’s Head Coach Brendan Crichton while on the men’s side, setter Sam Nielsen was taken first by Northern Moana Head Coach Neil Anderson.

The 2021 NVL Men’s MVP Troy Hulston went third to the Central Hauwhenua coached by Colin Redpath while last year’s women’s MVP Kim Smith is unavailable for the 2022 competition.

The Northern Moana Women’s side – coached by former Volley Fern Lauren Fleury - selected Ashleigh Hancock with the second pick of the draft before filling out their Marquee player slots with Stacey Niao and Elena Taiseni with the seventh and 10th picks respectively.

Fleury says while her marquee trio will be influential, blending a full squad together will be critical to success in October.

“The marquee players we've selected are all leaders in their own right and we expect them to bring that to the Northern Moana team,” Fleury said.

“In saying that, one of the great things about volleyball is it's the ultimate team game, and you can't win with only three players, so we'll be looking to select the rest of the team to complement our first three picks.”

Defending men’s champions Southern Pounamu, coached once again by New Zealand international men’s and women’s coach Sebastian Gonzalez, took Josh Mead, Mana Placid and Pesamino Morrison with his Marquee selections.

The 2021 women’s champions Midlands Te Waiora, coached again by Andrew Kilham, opted for Rachel Gunn, New Zealand Junior women’s captain Rosa Vesty and Blanka Preslova.

Southern Pounamu women’s coach Mary Edmondson grabbed Junior international Taylah Holdem with her first pick with Volley Fern Petra Manderson and Kalani Ruri completing the marquee contingent.

Returning Midlands Te Waiora Men’s Head Coach Keith Kincaid opted for Ashton Howard, Daniel Kilpatrick and Tala Potifara with his side’s first three picks.

Kincaid says his selections will all bring strong elements to his side.

“Ash has been leading the North Harbour team for some time and brings with him a wealth of experience. As a setter he understands his team's strengths and can strategically run a good game plan,” Kincaid said. 

“Daniel has developed over the last couple of seasons to be one of New Zealand’s premier opposite players and Tala is an explosive athlete with a strong jump serve and outside hit.”

Visit the home of the National Volleyball League to see all the teams and information for the 2022 edition of the pinnacle domestic competition in the Volleyball New Zealand pathway.


Crichton: Balance is key

Despite having the luxury of the number one pick in the 2022 National Volleyball League draft, Central Hauwhenua Women’s Head Coach Brendan Crichton knows his team’s chance of success hinges on the overall quality of his team, not a single player.

Having landed New Zealand representative Nicky Pio with the draft’s opening pick, Nelson-based Crichton and Assistant Coach Adam Watson knew the importance of ensuring the right mix of players were assembled around the talented setter.

“We have tried to get a balance in key positions with our marquee players, not just on the court but off it as well through their valuable intangibles that they bring,” Crichton said.

“They are all players that can lead and are happy to take responsibility at key moments in games. It's as much an excitement and a challenge for them that I want them to embrace and grab.”

Flexibility within the group also looks a key building block Crichton and Watson have used to assemble their squad with the 2022 edition of the NVL running over three straight days in late October.

“We have chosen a team that gives us many options on the outside and right side of attack, and several players with versatility able to play more than one position.

“This gives us the ability to run different offences and looks. It's going to be an exciting 2022 NVL and I want the players to drive the team and be heavily involved in our style of play.”  

The team-first ethos will be driven by a group which is chock full of individual talent, with Pio a key piece of the puzzle for Crichton’s team.

“Nicky was an easy pick in the number one spot for us,” Crichton says. “She has an immensely high volleyball IQ, very strong leadership skills and with her experience both nationally and internationally in the crucial setting role, she can control and run the offence.”

Standing alongside Pio in the Central Hauwhenua team will be Harbour’s Hayley Flatz and WECA’s Charlie Clarke, taken eighth and ninth in the draft respectively, a combination Crichton says will be highly valuable to the side over the three-day national event.

“We wanted to secure Hayley early as someone who brings energy, exceptional defence and passing to lead the back court. She was outstanding in last year's NVL in the libero role and carried this form into this year's IPC.

“Charlie gives a strong presence on the outside and with her connection with Hayley on serve receive. She has had a fantastic start to this year's Northern Zone with her club and was a standout at IPC.”

The 2022 National Volleyball League hits the court in October at the AUT Fitness and Sports Centre (North Shore Campus) in Auckland.

Rescheduled 2022 NVL confirmed

Volleyball New Zealand is pleased to confirm the revised scheduling of the 2022 National Volleyball League as October 27-30 in Auckland.

Following postponement earlier in the year due to scheduled international team activity, the competition will now be delivered over one four-day period at the Auckland University of Technology Recreation Centre – North Shore Campus.

Volleyball New Zealand CEO Toni-Maree Carnie acknowledged the patience shown by the community while the rescheduled dates and details were confirmed.

“It’s been challenging to juggle venue availability and other factors as we have worked to confirm the reschedule of the 2022 competition,” Carnie said.

“As we originally communicated, we are firmly committed to the NVL for 2022 and we’re excited to have the revised schedule locked in so everyone can now look forward with certainty to the second edition of the competition.”

With venue availability and timing now confirmed, VNZ have also been working to finalise coaches for the teams. We are excited to confirm the following coach appointments for the 2022 National Volleyball League:

Women’s Competition

  • Northern Moana: Lauren Fleury (Head Coach), Richard Casutt (Assistant Coach)
  • Midlands Te Wairoa: Andrew Kilham (Head Coach), Claire Stewart (Assistant Coach)
  • Central Hauwhenua: Brendan Crichton (Head Coach), Adam Watson (Assistant Coach)
  • Southern Pounamu: Mary Edmondson (Head Coach), George Koria (Assistant Coach)

Men’s Competition

  • Northern Moana: Neil Anderson (Head Coach), Alex Mariano (Assistant Coach)
  • Midlands Te Wairoa: Keith Kincaid (Head Coach), Vahid Fanipour (Assistant Coach)
  • Central Hauwhenua: Colin Redpath (Head Coach), Ben Laing (Assistant Coach)
  • Southern Pounamu: Sebastian Gonzalez (Head Coach), Andy Campbell (Assistant Coach)

Updated Player Expression of Interest

With confirmation of the updated competition timing, VNZ is now restarting the Express of Interest (EOI) process to establish the pool players available for inclusion in the recruitment and draft process which will follow soon.

For those players who completed the initial EOI and are available for the new dates, there is no need to re-complete the EOI form below. Simply email Susan Blundell-Dorrington to confirm your availability and your data will be kept from the initial form.

For those who may have missed the initial EOI process or are now available due to the new timing of the competition, please complete the survey form linked below to record your information.

The deadline for confirmation of your availability and/or completion of the survey is Thursday 30 June.

Link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/UpdatedNVLPlayerEOI

Please note cost per player is still being confirmed for the revised four-day competition block but it will not exceed the originally communicated figure of approximately $300.