Australia outgunned by determined USA
Australia has been beaten 3-nil by the United States in a highly charged match at the World Volleyball Championships in Poland.
The Americans came into the match needing to keep a clean sheet to keep alive their hopes of progressing to the next round, and played accordingly.
“It was quite clear we couldn’t cope with the service, with our reception,” coach Jon Uriarte said.
“And when we did play well there, we came up with different kinds of errors. It is quite difficult to come out with a good result.”
Australia was completely outgunned in the opening set after starting brightly, losing 25-15.
Numerous service errors and poor serve reception was making life easy for the United States, who attacked at every opportunity.
The second set also started badly for the Australians, but some big Tom Edgar spikes helped the Volleyroos back into the set, taking the lead at 14-13, and levelling again at 18-18.
But once again USA switched on its power game, blasting the Australians off the court to take the second set 25-19.
Australia has won the third set at its last two outings, against Iran and France, but despite some nervous moments, and helped by some timely American umpire challenges, the Volleyroos lost the final set 25-20.
Australia plays its final match of the World Championships against Italy early Monday morning, Australian time, a match captain Aidan Zingel says the Volleyroos will be desperate to win.
“It’s a big game for us, because we don’t want to finish bottom of the pool,” he said.
“So we’ve got to be ready for that.”
No repeat of French fairytale for Volleyroos
NO REPEAT OF FRENCH FAIRYTALE FOR AUSTRALIA
Australia has failed to repeat its heroics of earlier this year, losing to France in four sets at the Volleyball World Championships in Poland.
There was to be no repeat of Australia’s stunning five-set victory over France in Sydney in July, a win that took Australia to the final of the World League and sent France home.
But the Volleyroos gave the highly-rated French team plenty of headaches, including a stunning third set victory, 32-30.
“The team keeps trying, sometimes with some up and down, but they don’t give up,” coach Jon Uriarte said.
“It is one feature of this team that makes us happy. We are working still to find the best mix, to solve many different situations.”
Uriarte took a gamble early, starting Olympians Tom Edgar, Harry Peacock, Travis Passier and Nathan Roberts on the bench.
It appeared to throw France off their game, with the Volleyroos dominating early and taking a 6-3 early advantage.
But as has often been the case, Australia was let down by an inability to hold on to a lead.
Serve receives was once again problematic, and the Volleyroos couldn’t capitalise on several straight forward scoring opportunities.
The second set started badly for Australia, a return to the form which saw them thrashed in the final set of their match against Iran 24 hours earlier.
With the team trailing 8-2, Uriarte brought Edgar and Peacock into the game, and Australia clawed its way back into the set.
But in volleyball a six-point deficit is almost impossible to peg back, and Australia was still struggling in many facets of the game.
As they did 24 hours earlier against Iran, Australia played their best volleyball in the third set, saving several match points before a Tom Edgar ace gave them the set 32-30.
But also as they did 24 hours earlier, Australia was unable to capitalise on the momentum shift, losing the fourth set 25-17.
“We did an exact repeat of last night’s match,” captain Aidan Zingel said.
“I’m not sure exactly why we keep doing this, but it’s something we need to fix before the last two matches of the tournament.”
Australia now has a rest day before taking on USA on Sunday morning, AEST.
Australia fight bravely but lose to Iran in four
A spirited Australia has been beaten in four sets by Iran in Poland in their first ever second-round World Championship match.
After losing the first two sets in Bydgoszcz, Australia fought back to take the third set before capitulating in the fourth.
Despite the loss, Australia showed plenty of fight against Iran, one of the form teams of the World Championships so far.
“We produced many opportunities in the first set and the match, but unfortunately we couldn’t turn those into points,” coach Jon Uriarte said after the match.
“And then we couldn’t keep our approach in the fourth set. That is another thing we should think about before tomorrow.”
The Volleyroos have struggled all tournament to deal with powerful serves, and that weakness was once again on display against Iran in sets one and two.
In the opening set Australia scrapped its way to 15-14 lead, but then couldn’t deal with several fiery serves, Iran eventually taking the opener 25-23.
Australia once again enjoyed an early lead in the second set, with strong blocking at the net a feature of their game.
But serve receive errors again proved costly, turning an 11-10 Australia lead to an 11-14 deficit, and an eventual 25-21 set win to Iran.
The third set though saw a return to the form that helped them fight their way to a five set win against Venezuela last weekend.
With Tom Edgar dominating, the Volleyroos raced to an 8-4 lead, and then 21-15, before taking the set 25-21.
But as quickly as Australia took control, they threw it away.
The fourth set was one the Volleyroos would rather forget, full of unforced errors and serve receive problems.
At one stage Iran led 18-8, before taking the set 25-17 and the match 3-1.
“In the first three sets we put up a bit of a fight,” captain Aidan Zingel said.
“If we had been more consistent maybe the result might have been a bit different. In the fourth they put extra pressure on their service, and we couldn’t really handle it.
“We crumbled a bit. It’s disappointing to have a loss but we’ve got to keep our heads up because we have another match tomorrow.”
Australia is playing in the second round of the Volleyball World Championships for the first time in its history.
The teams chances of scoring a maiden second round victory don’t get any easier, with the Volleyroos playing France on Friday morning, Australian time.
Although Australia beat France in five thrilling sets in Sydney to qualify for the final of the World League, France has been the form team of the World Championships.