The Australian women’s volleyball team has been beaten 3-0 by Chinese Taipei in their opening match of the 2018 World Championship qualifiers in Kazakhstan.
The young Helloworld Volleyroos team made a strong start, but were unable to maintain the pressure , eventually losing 25-23, 25-13, 25-8.
Coach Shannon Winzer said her squad needs to take risks.
“We executed our game plan in the first set and were able to compete with Chinese Taipei,” Winzer said.
“However we struggled attacking in the last two sets, and as the deficit increased and we felt the pressure of those errors we became increasingly tentative, losing focus of the key aspects of that game plan.”
The Volleyroos need to finish top two in Kazakhstan to qualify for next year’s World Championships in Tokyo. Olympic gold medallists, China, and host nation Kazakhstan will be favourites to progress.
Australia will take on Fiji on Thursday, and Winzer wants to see her team step up a level.
“Today is disappointing because we started out strong and then fell away very quickly,” she said.
“We definitely were not playing to our full potential. We need to find a way for players to feel confident in playing aggressive and taking smart risks even, when we are uncomfortable and losing.”
The Volleyroos are in Kazakhstan without their leading two players from this year’s World Grand Prix series, Rachel Rourke and Karley Hynes. Many of the squad are part of the new full-time Centre of Excellence program at the AIS in Canberra.