JONES, STEVENS GIVE AUSSIES FANTASTIC COMEBACK WIN OVER IRAN
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, May 22, 2018 – Australia defied against all odds to stun Iran in tie-breaker 22-25 20-25 25-19 25-21 15-9 and top Pool C at their last preliminary encounter in the 12th Asian Women’s U17 Volleyball Championship at the Nakhon Pathom Municipality Gymnasium on Tuesday.
Annelies Jones and Alisha Stevens similarly scored a match-high 16 points apiece for the winning team, while Alissa Kinkela added 13 points including 10 kills. Negar Salahshouri led Iran with 14 points and Zahra Rezaei contributed 12 points.
Australia, powered by hard-attacking Alisha Stevens, led initially 8-6 in the opening set before Iran gradually pulled their game together and hit back strongly to catch up with the Aussies at 10-all and widened the gap to 21-15. However, Stevens came up with an awesome form and a dominant force to be reckoned with when she served and attacked aggressively to help Australia win six straight points to meet the strong Iranians at 21-21. The Aussies’ fightback did not last long as Iran stormed on to win the thrilling set 25-22.
Confidence boosted after the first-set win, Iran continued their remarkable run in the second set which saw them lead from start to finish. Iran took the set 25-20.
In the third set, Iran raced to a 12-4 lead, but Australia played with nothing to lose. Putting up a brave fight, Australia attacked, served and boosted with all-out efforts to make a comeback. Their more determination bore fruits when they caught up with the Iranians 18-18 and surged ahead the formidable rivals to capture the 25-19 comeback win in the set.
Australia showed their superiority in the fourth set, jumping to a 14-9 lead, thanks to the excellent offensive combinations between Jones and Stevens. After that, they stretched it to 20-16 and 24-20, allowing the Iranians only one more point to grab the set 25-21.
In the decider, Australia began encouragingly with aggression and consistency. Iran tried to make amends but their efforts were in vain. The Aussies went on the good show to beat the Iranians 15-9 for the eventual 3-2 win.
“It’s fantastic match. Wonderful to come out on top of the pool and the things we’re working on. It’s a long way to go and we have the changes. We have a wonderful job. We lost the first two sets because my girls just learned the pressure as they have never played international level like this before. We will next play the winners between Kazakhstan and India and I think it’s good to play them again as we played them (India) before in the “Princess Cup” South East Asian Championship, where we lost in straight sets to India. We’ll see what we have to improve from the last week,” Australia head coach Myles Roantree commented.
Australia now top Pool C with two straight wins, with Iran and New Zealand in second and third places respectively.
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