Pepperdine outside Harthaller to play for Austria in World League

A Pepperdine senior will be part of the Austrian team that is making the country’s first world volleyball tournament appearance in more than 50 years.

Outside attacker Alexander Harthaller was one of the 18 players selected to the Austria roster for the upcoming FIVB World League.

Harthaller transferred to Pepperdine following two seasons with Fort Wayne where he was a 2015 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshman All-American Team selection. In his first season with the Waves, Harthaller started eight matches and had two matches with double-digit kills as he helped Pepperdine reach the 2017 MPSF Tournament quarterfinals.

The outside attacker from Innsbruck, Austria, also had a season-high 18 kills in a five-game non-conference victory against Loyola in January.

Harthaller is one of three current NCAA players competing in the upcoming World League. Long Beach State All-American outside attacker TJ DeFalco was selected to the U.S. roster, while BYU middle attacker Miki Jauhiainen will play for Finland.

This is the first world volleyball event for Austria since competing at the 1962 FIVB World Championship.

Austria is one of two new countries to enter World League competition this year and will compete in Group 3. The 12-team group is the lowest tier in World League.

Austria will play six World League matches, including three home matches in Linz on June 9-11. In addition, the team will make its World League debut against Venezuela on June 2 in Frankfurt, Germany.

The top-three teams in Group 3 along with Mexico will advance to the finals that begin June 16. Mexico earned an automatic berth to the finals because it is playing host to the event.