IRAN TOP POOL C WITH UNBEATEN RECORD AFTER 3-0 DEMOLITION OF AUSTRALIA
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, September 18, 2018 – Iran made a clean sweep in Pool C after brushing off arch rivals Australia in straight sets 25-17 25-22 25-20 in their last pool round-robin preliminaries of the 6th AVC Cup for Women at the Chartchai Hall here on Tuesday.
With the scintillating win, Iran captured the Pool C top spot with 7 points from three straight wins. Australia finished second in the pool with 4 points from two wins against one loss.
Maedeh Borhani Esfahani led Iran with 15 points from 10 attacks, one block and a team-leading 4 aces, while Rachel Rourke was the lone Australian player to score a double-digit 11 points.
After resting smashing machine Rachel Rourke for the whole match the previous day, Australia head coach Shannon Winzer fielded an impressive line-up led by a tall trio of 192cm Rourke, 190cm Beth Carey and 188cm Agnieszka Kudziela, while Iran were spearheaded by veteran Maedeh Borhani Esfahani and hard-attacking Mahsa Kadkhoda.
Australia made a poor start in the opening set, with their game riddled with unforced attacking errors. Iran led initially 8-3 and went on their great form, mixing the offensive mobility from Mahsa’s well-placed serves with Maedeh’s attacks. Rourke, who led a team-high 33 points in Australia’s first encounter against the Philippines, scored some crucial points for her team before Iran took the comfortable set 25-17.
Australia started to play cool under pressure to take an initial 5-3 lead in the second set, but Iran clawed their way back into the game. Powerful attacks from Maedeh and Mahsa moved the team ahead with a 2-point clear at 20-18. From then on, the Aussies became more prone with hasty unforced mistakes, allowing the Iranians attacking opportunities Despite a gallant fightback from Australia, the Iranians continued their dominant form to win the hard-fought set 25-22.
The third set was briefly dominated by Iran as they combined well to lead 5-2 before Australia roared back to meet them at 16-16. After that, both sides gave it all out, but Iran again came up with better form and teamwork to surge ahead with a 3-point advantage at 22-19. The Aussies tried to regain their form, but failed to make their mark. Iran captured the set 25-20 and match.
“We had a good game plan in this match against Australia and my players played according to the plan. We made a good rotation including the change of libero. I know that we have a different structure. We put pressure on them through our service. Today, everything came for us. We played well in service. We will try our best again in the next match,” Iran head coach Javad Mehregan S commented after the match.
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