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Aussies finish World Cup in style

23 September 2015

After a slow start to the tournament, Australia have finished the 2015 World Cup with a flourish winning their last three matches as they claimed a total of four victories against the world's best in Japan. 

Australia v Venezuela 

Australia has beaten Venezuala 3-1 to finish the Volleyball World Cup in Japan with three consecutive wins, and four wins in total for the tournament.

The Australians were superior at the net, finishing with 13 blocks to Venezuela’s four, to run out 25-16, 25-21, 22-25, 25-21 winners.

The Volleyroos were ably led by man-of-the match Paul Carroll, who once again got the starting role with captain Tom Edgar rested, and finished with 24 points.

Coach Roberto Santilli said he was very proud of the way his team ended the tournament.

“If the secret of life is to be happy with what you have, I can say I am very happy with my guys,” Santilli said.

“We are not the first team of the world, but we are doing our job. Today our guys showed that this World Cup was useful for us.

“It taught us something, we learned a lot and improved a lot. In the end we finished with three wins in a row, which is something we could not expect after the start of our World Cup.”

Edgar said there are good signs for the future of the Volleyroos.

“It’s been a long tournament for us, but I feel there’s been a lot of growth for our team,” he said.

“It’s good to finish with three wins.”

Australia finished ninth overall, and will now focus on next year’s Olympic qualifiers, also to be played in Japan.

Australia v Tunisia

The Australian men’s volleyball team has recorded a second consecutive straight sets World Cup victory, beating Tunisia 3-0 in an impressive performance in Tokyo.

Captain Tom Edgar returned to the line-up after sitting out Australia’s 3-0 win over Iran, and responded with 20 points in a man-of-the-match display.

Australia’s new-found confidence was on display from the outset, highlighted by a much improved serve-receive game and some outstanding blocking on the net.

Three of the younger members of the team, Sam Walker, Max Staples and Jacob Guymer, made the most of their opportunities as Australia finished up 25-19, 25-17, 25-19 winners, their third victory of the World Cup.

“Today is something really special, we’ve won two games in a row,” coach Roberto Santilli said.

“We are very happy now to have a competition where we can compete and control a game like we did today.”

Edgar said he was impressed with his team’s past two matches, coming after a tough middle section of the tournament when Australia lost three games in a row 3-0.

“It’s always difficult in long tournaments to stay focused, every team and every person is physically and mentally very tired,” he said.

“After our tough round in Toyama I’ve been very impressed and really happy with the way our team has played against Iran and Tunisia.

“We still have room for growth, but getting wins and showing stability at the end of the tournament is very important.”

Santilli said the wins against Iran and Tunisia underline the gap between the best teams in the world and the next level.

“This is a tournament where there are four teams playing for a place in Rio, and they are not joking, they are not experimenting,” he said.

“For us to play these teams – Italy, Russia, USA and Poland – I didn’t like to play these teams.

“I don’t think it’s always a good lesson to lose 3-0 against Russia or Poland. In this tournament we have two levels of teams, and this makes a big difference in how you can play and how you can perform.”

Australia will play Venezuela in their final match of the tournament, with the team confident it can finish with a third consecutive victory.

Australia v Iran

The Australian men’s volleyball team has beaten Asian rivals, Iran, 3-0 to claim their second victory of the World Cup in Tokyo.

Playing without captain Tom Edgar, replacement opposite Paul Carroll made the most of his opportunity, finishing with 22 points in a man of the match performance.

After a tight opening set, Australia took control through Carroll, setter Greg Sukochev and Libero Luke Perry to win 27-25, 27-25, 25-22.

In previous matches Australia has struggled with its serve receive, but with Iran having trouble with its serve much of the pressure was removed.

Iran and Australia have been fierce rivals for several years, and are once again expected to fight it out to be the Asian Confederation team at next year’s Olympics.

Carroll said it was a team-lifting result.

“It’s our first convincing win of the tournament,” he said.

“I think we’ll get a lot of confidence out of this game, especially as it was Iran and we’re going to be playing them in May next year for the Olympic qualification tournament.

“I’ve played on the Australian team now for 10 years or so, on and off, and I’m always ready to play in whatever role the team needs me. It felt good to be out there with the guys and putting in a good performance.”

Coach Roberto Santilli said he was impressed by the attitude of his players.

“Today was great satisfaction for us and our young guys,” he said.

“We showed how much confidence can change if you win important games. We won the first set, and then the players played like they’ve never played before at this tournament.

“We can’t play Edgar and Carroll together, so have to choose one of the two. Today Paul showed he is a really solid player, and he can really help these guys.”

Australia will finish the World Cup with games against Tunisia and Venezuela, and Santilli is expecting a big performance.

“Today was a big step for us,” he said.

“We didn’t just play, we played well and we beat a very important team. They are really young, most of them it’s their first big experience.

“Many of them were scared playing against big opponents like Russia and Poland, so this is a big step for us.” 

Australia vs Poland

Australia were unable to repeat one of their greatest victories after going down to Poland in straight sets at the World Cup in Japan. 

The Volleyroos caused one of the upsets of the London 2012 Games as they defeated the Polish 3-1 at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre. 

Three years on and the world's third ranked team were far too slick for the Aussies as they won 25-15 25-22 25-17 in Tokyo. 

Thomas Edgar was Australia's leading performer, scoring 17 points for the side. 

"Poland are a world-class team and they played at a very high level against us tonight," Edgar said.

"Unfortunately, we were forced into playing a lot of high-ball situations, which is very difficult against a strong team with a big block. We made our own job very tough.

"Our focus has to switch now to three very important games in Tokyo to round out this tournament. We need to play well not only against Iran, but also against the other two opponents, so I hope we can finish the tournament on a high and keep improving for the future."

Australia vs Argentina

Australia have fallen to Argentina in straight sets to record their sixth loss at the Volleyball World Cup in Japan. 

The Aussies were close for the first two sets in Toyama, but fell away in the third, losing 25-21, 25-23, 25-16.

And in further bad news for the Australian’s, London Olympic setter Harry Peacock injured his ankle in the opening set and is in doubt for the rest of the World Cup.

Captain Tom Edgar, who was substituted early in the match, was disappointed with the loss.

“It was extremely frustrating, not just the way we played, but the way we approached the game,” Edgar said.

“The aggression wasn’t there, the fight wasn’t there, and that transferred into our technical skills and our overall play.

“We’ll have to learn from this for the next four games, and especially for the future of this team.”

Australia plays Poland on Friday night, before heading to Tokyo for the final three matches.

Australia vs Russia

The Australian men’s volleyball team has shown glimpses of its best form again, giving up two set points before eventually losing to Russia in straight sets at the World Cup in Toyama, Japan.

The Volleyroos looked out of the first set at 18-13 down, but then staged a hard-fought comeback to eventually hold two set points at 24-22.

But the Australians were unable to finish the highly-regarded Russians off, losing the set 26-24.

The Russians took control of the match in the second and third sets, eventually winning 26-24, 25-16, 25-18

Three days ago the Volleyroos gave up two match points against Canada, and captain Tom Edgar said his team needs to learn how to put sides away.

“We started the game very well but just at the important moments we had a few lapses, but a lot of positives to be taken out of this match,” Edgar said.

“You can’t train or simulate playing a team like Russia. They’re so big and so powerful, and they play well on serve and block. They played very clinically.”

Coach Roberto Santilli took the unusual step of rotating Liberos during the match, alternating between regular Luke Perry and back-up Libero, Jacques Borgeaud.

He said despite the scoreline there were good signs for his young team.

“Despite the result, I think for us this was a big step forward,” he said.

“I think we played very well in the first set and of course we got some aces from the Russian service. They serve very fast, but this is normal.

“But they made the difference at the end. But for me and my team, we made a step forward. But it’s not enough to always be competitive against Russia.”

Australia takes on Argentina on Thursday and Poland on Friday, before moving to Tokyo for the final three matches of the tournament.

The Volleyroos have one win so far from their first six matches.

Australia vs Canada

The Australian men’s volleyball team has suffered a heartbreaking five-set loss to Canada at the World Cup in Hiroshima, Japan.

At 19-18 in the fifth set, the Canadian serve clipped the net and rolled onto the Australian side of the court, giving the North Americans a 32-34, 25-14, 25-21, 27-29, 20-18 victory.

But Australia had plenty of chances, including two match points at 14-12, and again at 17-16, but could not put the Canadians away.

Coach Roberto Santilli elected to start a weary Tom Edgar on the bench, after his record-breaking 50 points on Saturday against Egypt.

Replacement opposite, Paul Carroll, picked up where his captain left off, helping Australia to a commanding 24-19 lead, before careless mistakes allowed Canada to level at 24-24.

Australia eventually took the set 34-32, but lost form in the next two sets, before the return of Edgar in the fourth set sparked a revival.

Edgar said despite the loss he was proud how his team fought out the match.

“It was such a tough and long match, it was really good that the boys held in their and fought,” Edgar said.

“I still think we’re making the same mistakes that have plagued us for most of the tournament, some easy errors in all areas of the game at important moments.

“I think we play up to a point, but in the end it’s how you finish games, not how you start them.”

Australia finishes the first leg of the World Cup with one win from four matches, with coach Santilli feeling positive about the direction his young team is heading.

“It was another marathon after yesterday, which is why we tried to use all the players we did,” Santilli said.

“We are still struggling with reception, but we have young guys, and sometimes you just have to be patient.

“You saw in the tie-break, we were leading, and we missed easy balls. But the team played really well, it was much better than the last game.”

Edgar with 21 points led the scoring for Australia, despite spending much of the match on the bench, while Carroll finished with 20.

The Volleyroos now have two days off and head to Toyama, where they’ll take on Poland, Russia and Argentina.

Australia vs Egypt

Australian volleyball captain Tom Edgar has inspired his team to a thrilling five-set win over Egypt, their first win of the 2015 World Cup in Japan.

212cm Edgar finished with an incredible 50 points for the match, as Australia held out Egypt 23-25, 26-24, 25-23, 20-25, 15-13 in Hiroshima.

The win comes after three straight defeats, and coach Roberto Santilli was full of praise for his captain.

“We found the key of the game today, that was ‘give the ball to Edgar’,” he said.

“It was the Edgar day. When he has days like these he can solve your problems, and today he solved the problems.”

Santilli said the win comes at a perfect time for the Volleyroos.

“We are not just happy we won this game, we are really, really happy,” he said.

“After three games lost, the atmosphere inside the team started to be a bit heavy.

“Today was even difficult to start, so the win was very important. So thanks to Edgar for his performance today, it made a big difference.”

Edgar had to leave the court during the fourth set to try and stem bleeding from a small cut on his hand, but is certain to be fit for Sunday’s game against Canada.

The captain said there were lots of good signs for his team.

“I think we really fought today, which was a positive thing for our team,” he said.

“It’s something we have to build on, and I’m expecting even better performances going forward.

“I spoke individually with a few of the players who felt a bit tense and nervous in our last game. I’m really happy how the younger guys really showed some character and some fight today.”

Australia vs Japan 

Australia have gone down to World Cup hosts Japan in Hiroshima but did manage to win their first set of the tournament.

The Volleyroos lost the opening two sets of the encounter 25-17 25-21 before boucning back to win the third set 27-25.

The Aussies comeback was short-lived as they went down 25-18 to suffer their third straight defeat of the tournament. 

"They played their style which is to reduce mistakes and play fast,"  said Australia coach Roberto Santilli.

"Their setters were very good and they are playing better than last year.
"We have a young team and we show that in some situations by making mistakes.
We will try to take the positives from this match."


Australia vs Italy

Australia have suffered their second straight sets loss in a row after going down to Italy 17-25 18-25 15-25.

Thomas Edgar (12 points) and Max Staples (7) were Australia's best performers against the world's fourth ranked team.
"Italy is back to a high level," said Australia coach Roberto Santilli.

"We didn't pass 20 points in the match so it is easy to understand why we lost. They played at a different speed. We made easy mistakes and paid for our bad receptions.

"We now have to move on to tomorrow's game. We need to find the rhythm of the game. We feel confidence that we can overcome and start anew from tomorrow."

"It was a difficult match," added Australia captain Edgar.

"It was disappointing how we attacked. We have to look within ourselves and focus on our mistakes. All the teams here are high level and if we can't make a step up it will be a difficult tournament for us."

Australia vs USA

Australia have opened their World Cup campaign with a straight sets loss to fifth ranked USA in Japan.

The Aussies matched it with their higher ranked rivals for much of the first set before going down 25-23.

The USA then went on with it as they won 25-12 25-15 in the final two sets.
"This game was not easy for us," said Australia coach Roberto Santilli.

"There are two levels of teams here - those competing for the Olympic berths and those trying to gain experience.

"We expected to have difficulty with serve reception because USA is good at serves. I'm sorry for my young players because they played against a tough team."

"This match was played in two parts," said Australia captain Thomas Edgar.

"We started strong but made crucial errors at the end of the first set. We were playing ball for ball with them before that.

"They are a top-class team. The have deep technical skill and are one of the best serving teams.

"We hope to improve game-by-game. We are the youngest team at the tournament. This is a good experience for our younger players."

olympics.com.au with Volleyball Australia

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