Community Leaders

Learn more about our Hunter Volleyball community leaders! Next time you see us, come and say hi, and tell us a bit about yourself !

MARK PICHLER
Role: Committee Treasurer
Age
: 51-60 
When were you introduced to volleyball: At 17yrs in Karratha High School, WA by Shane Hennesy who showed us Olympic Matches on old 18mm film
Most influential people on your volleyball: My second coach – Kevin (a former setter for WA)
Have you had timeout from the game: Injury has stopped me from playing but not from being there.
Favourite volleyball brand: Molten
Rules you’d change: Can’t use your feet to play the ball
Volleyball shirts you own: 18
Quirky team names: Deep Sea Racing Mullets, Grovers Grogans
Most memorable experiences: 2000 Olympics/Paralympics as volunteer & spectator, and my first trip to Perth to play in the Country Week Championships 1981 as the Karratha Cougars
Dreams for Hunter volleyball: Consolidation in the New Stadium and a Regional Tournament for Juniors and Mixed Teams

MICHELLE SLACK-SMITH
Nickname: Misho
Role: President, Captain Women’s Social Team (Cheetahs)
Age
: 41-50
When were you introduced to volleyball: By my Year 9 Science Teacher, Mr Winter in Coffs Harbour
Most influential people on your volleyball: Mr Winter, Hutch from CHVA, then everyone at Sydney North Volleyball when I moved to Sydney in 1999.
Have you had timeout from the game? Yes for ankle fractures, arthroscopies, and while working for VA and SVNSW.
Favourite volleyball brand: Molten
Rules you’d change: Libero should serve
Volleyball shirts you own: 19
Quirky team names: Brides of Shankenstein, La Tortuga, Viva La Volley, Cheetahs
Most memorable experiences: Working on the Australian Beach Volleyball Tour, coaching school juniors at AVSC, NSW junior girls at AJVC and Hunter junior girls at JDP, winning silver at World Masters Sydney 2009.
Dreams for Hunter volleyball: We build hubs of activity including Lake Mac, Cessnock and Maitland, so that we can have local inter-club competitions! We get a junior league started for weekly playing options for U18s.

DANIELLE TANSU
Nickname:
Dani
Role: Committee Member, Coach, Captain Women’s team (Sweet Digs)
Age: 31-40
When were you introduced to volleyball: 1995
Most influential people on your game: My Junior Olympics Coach, Robert and for my development as a coach, my mentor Sid Feldman (legend!!)
Have you ever had timeout from the game: Yes! Injury, kids, etc. and really missed it! It felt weird not doing something in the sport
Favourite volleyball brand
: Tachikara
Rules you’d change: The option for that ugly 1st contact – I get, 100% has its place on maybe a real hard driven ball – but otherwise – keep it clean man!
Volleyball shirts you own:  10
Quirky team names: Morningwood Academy
Most memorable experiences:
Playing in a Fud 4 team at the annual Emerald Coast beach tourney Florida. Awesome tournament! Coaching my 1st year I had the littlies after years of the older kids,  heaps of learning and growth in that year! 
Dreams for Hunter volleyball
: More opportunities for kids and leading into junior programs, getting massive exposure in schools! Creating junior comps for all the juniors to then play in on a regular basis.

NIENKE DE VLIEGER
Nickname:
Nienke
Role: V/C Women’s team (Sweet Digs), Captain B Grade team (Kiss My Ace)
Age: 31-40
When were you introduced to volleyball: When I first started Uni – about 10 years ago
Most influential people on your game: Definitely a guy I had a crush on in the men’s team :p Needed to impress him!
Have you ever had timeout from the game: I’ve played on and off over the 10 years
Favourite volleyball brand
: Wilson
Rules you’d change: I’d change the serving to tennis rules: you get two attempts, try again if you hit the net and need to get it into a small area in the opponent’s side.
Volleyball shirts you own:  3.5
Quirky team names: It has to be our new team, Kiss My Ace
Most memorable experiences:
One where we lost a set with 25-1 (ouch) and as a spectator at a very exciting Dutch national women’s team game (can’t remember what for) because it was an absolute thriller of a game.

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