Volleyball WA would like to acknowledge and celebrate those who have received recognition for their outstanding contribution to the growth and development of our sport at the 2021 VWA Annual General Meeting.
Each year we ask the community to nominate people they believe embody the values of our sport and are making a difference to our sport. The VWA Hall of Champions recognises those athletes and coaches who have represented the State of WA in the sport of volleyball at an outstanding level. The awardees for 2021 are Dan Howard, Lisa MacNeill (nee Willcocks), and Laurel Wentworth.
Dan Howard moved to Western Australia from Kangaroo Island in 1989. He commenced playing volleyball in WA Country Week for Esperance. He played for the WA Under 19 Junior State team while in Year 12 at Esperance SHS. He was then invited to a National Senior Men’s training camp in 1996.
Between 1994 and 2008 participated in 330 games representing Australia, with 116 games as Captain including:
- Olympic Qualifying Tournaments – 1996 (Korea, Japan, Germany), 2004 (Japan), and 2008 (Japan).
- Played in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and won ‘Best Spiker’ for the
- Played in the 2004 Olympics in Athens (Team Captain).
- Played in the World Championship Cup 1997 (Japan).
- Played in World Championship Qualifying Tournaments 1997 (Uzbekistan), 2001 (Macau), and 2005 (India and Iran)
- Played in World Championships – 2002 (Argentina) and 2006 (Japan) and won ‘Best Blocker’ for the tournament.
- Played in Asian Championships – 1997 (Qatar), 1999 (Iran), 2002 (Korea), 2003 (China), 2007 (Indonesia)
Lisa MacNeill commenced playing volleyball at Rossmoyne Senior High School, she represented the State from the mid-1980’s in the U17s and progressed through to the U19’s, U21’s and then went on to play in the senior team. She was selected in the National Junior Women’s team, and nominated as Captain in the 1990 Asian Junior Championships in Jakarta.
Her first National Senior Selection was in 1991, between 1992 – 1994 she played a total of 85 indoor volleyball games representing Australia, including: ·
- World Championships Qualifier – 1993 (Japan)
- Asian Senior Championships – 1993 (China)
- Oceania Championships – 1994 (Auckland)
- Played in the FIVB World Beach Volleyball Pro Tour – 1992 (Brazil) and 1994 (Spain)
- Winner of the Asian Championships with Chris Wilson – 1992
- Attended Barcelona Olympics – 1992 with Chris Wilson where Beach Volleyball was a demonstration sport.
- Beach Australian Champion (with Liane Fenwick) for the 1993/1994season
She was awarded the Australian Volleyball Federation (Volleyball Australia) Most Outstanding Female Player in 1992 /1993, an AIS Scholarship in 1993 and 1994, and a VWA Order of Merit in 1994.
Laurel Wentworth commenced playing volleyball as a junior in the ACT State Team with her twin sister. She played for the ACT Academy of Sport from the late 1980s in the National League.
Between 1985 – 1996 Laurel played 166 indoor volleyball games representing Australia, including:
- Asian Junior Championships 1984 (Canberra), 1986 (Bangkok, Thailand)
- World Junior Championships 1985 (Fabriano, Italy).
- Asian Senior Championships 1993 (Shanghai, China) and 1995 (Chang Mai, Thailand) and Asian Olympic Qualifier 1996 (Australia).
- World Championship Qualifier 1993 (Japan) and Qualifying Championships 1995 (Nairobi, Kenya).
- Women’s World Grand Prix Invitational 1994 (Sydney)
- Oceania Championships 1996 (Noumea, New Caledonia)- Indoor Volleyball and Beach Volleyball Champions.
- Captain Australian Women’s Volleyball team 1994 – 1996.
And in 1994/1995 she was awarded Australian Volleyball Federation (Volleyball Australia) Most Outstanding Female Player.
Laurel relocated to Western Australia to participate in the AIS full-time program (1993-1996) and stayed in Perth after the program moved to Canberra. During this time she played Tour matches for Australia in Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Germany, France, Kenya & Australia. Laurel also played with WAIS in the Sister City Games in 1987 (Kagoshima, Japan). She was awarded the Volleyball WA Order of Merit in 2015 and selected in Western Australian State Teams for many years, winning several medals.
She has had an outstanding career as a coach which has included several Western Australian Women’s State Indoor teams over the years, including:
- U17 – 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2014
- U19-2017 (Silver) 2018, 2019
- U21 – 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2011
- U23 – 2013
- AVL-2007, 2008,2009,2010,2011, 2012,2013,2014,2019,2021
Volleyball WA’s Order of Merit is awarded to persons who make a significant contribution to the aims and objectives of the Association. The award aims to acknowledge the outstanding contribution of members who have contributed to the efficiency and effectiveness of the VWA. In 2021 that person was Alexander Sands.
Alexander has given 19 years of service to Rossmoyne SHS Australian Volleyball Schools Club coaching and playing. He has spent seven years coaching at Rossmoyne Volleyball Club and has been an active committee member 2019-2020. He was also the Super League Reserve Men Coach 2004-2005, 2015, 2019 – 2021, and Super League Reserves Assistant Coach 2018.
To see a full list of our Distinguished Award winners please visit our About Us page.
Image: Laurel Wentworth (Far Left)