Canberra, Australia, March 2, 2018 – Top two seeds Australia and New Zealand brushed aside unfancied rivals on Friday to cruise into the semi-finals of the Oceania Qualification Tournament for Youth Olympic Games and 2018 FIVB U19 World Championships.
The three-day competition is being held to decide the top two national federations per gender to earn a main draw place at the U19 World Championships to be held later this year in China and also secure a berth at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Argentina.
After an impact they made the previous day following a great win over hosts Australia, New Zealand second seeds Otene/Dikson continued their impressive form on Friday. Completing their pool play, the Kiwis progressed undefeated in Pool A and are through as the team to beat in the Saturday’s semi-finals.
Australian top seeds Aimee Coleman/Tiaan Smith finished second in their pool, narrowly defeating a courageous Fiji duo of Uluilakeba/Tuilovoni in their last pool match winning 15-13 in the third set (21-9 14-21 15-13). The Fijian pair pushed the Aussies all the way to the end in an impressive display of defence and resilience. However, the Australians were able to overcome some third-set nerves to come back from a 0-5 deficit to clinch the tiebreak.
In the men’s competition, Australia and New Zealand have emerged as top of their respective pools. Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea will complete the group of four to contest the semi-finals, with Vanuatu’s Chilia/Chilia defeating American Samoa’s Moalele/Luaiva and Papua New Guinea’s Aisi/Gima defeating Fiji’s Jaydan/Sorovaki in the two quarter-final matches on Friday.
Sunday will see the final action taking place for the event with semi-finals commencing at 10.30am local time, and medal matches commencing at 2pm for women and 3pm for men.
The men’s semi-finals see Australia play Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu play New Zealand, while New Zealand will take on Vanuatu and Australia play Fiji in the women’s competition.
Winners of each semi-final match will progress to the gold medal matche for each gender with an high hope of booking their place in both the U19 World Championships and the Youth Olympic Games.
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