FIVB - Volleyball World League

MATCH INFO

Australia stun France in five sets


A capacity crowd lifted Australia to one of it's most memorable victories.

Sydney, Australia, July 12, 2014 - Australia pulled off one of the biggest wins in their volleyball history, beating France 3-2 (25-20, 22-25, 25-22, 23-25, 16-14) to book a place at next weekend’s FIVB Volleyball World League Group 1 Finals in Italy.

KEY POINTS

-Australia last played World League in 1999, where they didn't win a match.
-France dominated Pool D, losing only three games.
-France was the only side playing in Sydney this weekend who didn't play last weekend.
-Australia finished bottom of Group C, but qualified for this weekend's semi-finals as the host nation.
-Both teams recorded straight sets victories the previous evening, Australia over Netherlands and France over Belgium

A capacity crowd at Sydney’s Homebush Stadium helped lift Australia to an early 8-7 lead, mainly off the back of five unforced French errors.

An incredible 3-block rally helped Australia to a 10-7 lead, another French service error made it 11-8 and France called a time out.

Australian captain Aidan Zingel was inspiring his team at the net, while a Kevin Le Roux ace brought France back to touching distance.

Unlike the previous night, Australia were rarely using Tom Edgar tonight. But it was at the service line that he made an impact, pushing the Volleyroos out to an 18-13 lead.

A powerful Paul Sanderson ace gave the Australians a six set points, and although France rallied the momentum was with the Volleyroos, taking the set 25-20.

The loss spurred France into action, and with Australia making errors they quickly raced to a commanding 6-2 lead in the second set.

Sanderson’s power game was winning Australia points, while Le Roux was continuing to perform strongly for the visitors.

Earvin Ngapeth had been injected into the game midway though the opening set, and was making his presence felt at the net, with France slipping out to a 12-8 lead.

The speed of Mory Sidibe around the court was given France some extra spark and a 20-14 lead. But two Paul Sanderson aces, both catching the top of the net, and a big Zingel block brought the score back to 20-17.

The Australians continued to rally, and when a disputed umpire call went Australia’s way it was France 23-22. A drive down the line by Sidibe, his ninth point of the match, was enough to level the set count at one-all.

Sidibe continued to lead the way for France in the third set. Australia were resting Edgar, and France took advantage of his absence to race to an 8-6 lead.

But the home crowd was proving a key for Australia, and with Adam White and hometown favourite Nehemiah Mote winning key points, and with France committing a net transgression, Australia found itself in a 16-14 lead.

Another net touch and a disputed call against France gave Australia a 22-18 lead, but then a series of unforced errors allowed France back into the set at 21-22.

Australian coach Jon Uriarte brought Edgar back in, with immediate effect. He crushed two big points, guiding Australia to a 25-22 win.

There was devastating news for France early in the fourth set, with star player Kevin Le Roux injuring an ankle and having to leave the court. Australia, looking to close out the match, had an early 8-6 lead with a refreshed Edgar making an impact.

France’s error count was also problematic, their 30th giving Australia an 11-7 lead.

An overturned umpire’s decision that would have given Australia a 17-15 lead leveled the scores at 16-all, and some big net action by Nicolas Le Goff gave France the lead.

A misdirected Edgar spike pushed the score to 21-19 in France’s favour, and at 24-21 the set looked over.

But France’s 35th unforced error and a big Sanderson block at the net tightened the score to 23-24, before France held firm to win 25-23 and force the match into a fifth.

A Tom Edgar block and a Nicolas Marechal ace got the deciding set underway, but it was the blocking and spiking work of the big Australian that helped the home team to a decisive 8-5 lead at the end change.

At 9-6 Uriarte took Edgar, who’d been dominating the set, off the court. Ngapeth won some big points, forcing Uriarte to re-introduce his biggest player at 9-all.

At 13-11 France could see the finish line, but two big Edgar spikes brought the Australians back to 13-all and lifted the home crowd.

In a gripping finish, Australia lifted to another level, Greg Sukochev pulling off a big block and Edgar driving home a winner to take the set 16-14 and the match in five sets, 25-20, 22-25, 25-22, 23-25, 16-14.
 

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