Volleyball News

AUSTRALIA ROCK GERMANY IN FIVE SET THRILLER


Ottawa, Canada, June 10, 2018 – Jordan Richards top scored for Australia but there were heroes all over the court in green and gold as a difficult weekend for the Volleyroos finished on a wonderful high as red-hot Germany were seen off in a thrilling five set classic 3-2 (25-22, 18-25, 17-25, 25-18, 15-11).

The Germans have loved the Canadian leg of their VNL campaign and came into the match with the Aussies aiming for a clean sweep over the weekend following great wins over the USA and the hosts on Saturday night.
It’s been four years since a Germany side won four on the spin and with another chance to surge up the table and move closer into contention for a place in the finals later this month, there was plenty on the line for Andrea Giani’s side.
At the end of a rollercoaster VNL afternoon at TD place, however, it was the battling Aussie’s who bagged their first win of the weekend and just their second of the campaign.
And how they deserved it. This was Germany’s first five-setter since losing 3-2 to Montenegro in 2016 – a long 23 games ago and although it was a rollercoaster match which had the Ottawa fans on the edge of their seats, that won’t ease the pain for Giani who will rue his side’s fifth, and most dramatic, NL defeat.
The Aussie’s have shown in patches they belong in amongst the very best – they just need to work on consistency and keep their form in check for the whole match.
That was true once again for large patches of this clash as Richards (15 spikes, a block and an ace) and Thomas Hodges (10 points) posed plenty of questions for the Europeans to answer, especially in the first set which saw some supreme play from Australia.
While Hodges led the way with some fearsome attacking play, it was the defensive nature of Mark Lebedew’s side which helped them steal into the lead. Beau Graham in particular was impressive at the net – a brilliant block at 16-13 helped set the stall for his team-mates to finish the job.
That shock however stunned Germany into life and with Reichert (nine spikes, two blocks and four aces) and top scorer Christian Fromm (18 spikes, two blocks and an ace) once more providing the power, Giani saw his men deservedly draw level and even though Hodges was unleashing some fearsome spikes, it wasn’t enough.
Germany’s serve – they finished with 11 aces to Australia’s four although making a massive 40 errors certainly didn’t help – was right on point and the third went their way with Reichert blocking superbly.
You would have thought that was the end – but its just not in the sporting psyche of Australians to give in. The fourth set was pocketed and at the of a rip-roaring tie-break, it was the boys from Down Under who were over the moon.

Australia coach Mark Lebedew: “It takes a really big turnaround in this kind of competition, which has a lot of travel stress. The guys did an amazing job, not just the guys on the court but the guys on the bench gave a lot of energy. Sometimes you need to have all 14 guys.

“I think it’s a reflection of the kind of guys we have. As a group, the guys are open and friendly and interacting with people. On the court, we don’t always succeed but we try to fight with a lot of emotion and fight for every point. The crowd really understands when they see a team that’s really playing at their maximum and they can see that with our guys. That helped get the crowd on our side when we’re a long way from home.

“My personal belief is that you play better when you’re having fun. When you have some kind of relaxed attitude, you think more clearly, you move more clearly. When we don’t play as well, it’s normally when we’re thinking about other external things. In the moment of the game, when we’re just completely immersed in the game is when we play our best.”

Australia captain Paul Carroll: “The match started really well. We won the first set and then we had a bit of a lull or lack of energy. We kind of talked about it in the middle of the set and used the energy we’ve got to get physical. They’ve had a long weekend with two big wins, but it’s also emotionally draining for them, so we put all of our energy in and it deflated them a little bit.”

 

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