FIVB Men's World Olympic Qualification Tournament 2012 | Japan

Press release

Australia down Korea in four sets in Olympic qualifiers

Top scorer of the tournament Thomas Edgar help Australia to improve their record to 4-2, while Korea dropped to 2-4

Tokyo, June 9, 2012 – Australia beat Korea 3-1 (25-22, 25-18, 23-25, 25-20) on the penultimate day of action in the FIVB Men’s Olympic Qualification Tournament at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Saturday.
Australia were led by Aidan Zingel with 19 points, while Korea’s top scorer was Choi Hong-Suk with 21. Australia outblocked Korea 16-12 and outserved them 8-3.

Australia improved their record to 4-2, while Korea dropped to 2-4.

Korea ran into trouble at the start of the match and coach Park Ki-Won called a timeout after his team dropped the first three points. Korea came into the game in flashes, but Australia had the upper hand, with Thomas Edgar causing them plenty of problems on offence and defence. Park had to call another timeout at 9-14 as his team struggled to receive well. The Koreans were six points behind at the second technical timeout and couldn’t find a way back. Australia lost a bit of concentration toward the end and coach Jon Uriarte called a timeout at 23-20. Adam White sent a thumper down the middle to bring up four setpoints before Korea replied with two points, including a stinging shot from Kim Yo-Han. But Igor Yudin ended the set with a big shot and Australia were 1-0 up.

Korea started off the second set much like the first and Park hauled his players off court after falling from 2-2 to 2-6. Korea showed their power on occasion – Kim and Choi Hong-Suk landed a couple of good shots – but the Aussies had their tails up, were playing well as a team and deserved their six-point lead at the second TTO. Park called a timeout at 13-20, but he might as well have called a taxi; his team were going nowhere. They gifted Australia setpoint with another error and Yudin again had the honour of finishing the set with another convincing smack down the middle.

Park again called an early timeout early in the third set, but this time it was for dropping a lead rather than falling behind. After Korea went 5-3 ahead, the Australians took an 8-5 lead at the first TTO on the back of two service aces by Edgar and three stupendous blocks: Aidan Zingel on Kim, Grigory Sukochev on Jeon Kwang-In and Travis Passier on Jeon again. But then the Koreans started to play, particularly on defence. Shin Yung-Suk made a fabulous block on the 212-cm Edgar, while Choi started to find his spiking range. When Korea moved ahead after a good hit by Jeon, Uriarte called his players off court for a chat. Jeon continued hitting well and a terrific blow gave Korea a one-point lead at the second TTO. Uriarte called his second timeout after a block by Kim gave Korea a four-point lead at 21-17. A stinging shot down the middle by Choi then gave Korea three setpoints. Kim gave away two of those with a netted serve and a long spike, but Zingel sent a serve long to send the match to a fourth set.

The Koreans weren’t happy people at the start of the fourth set. Coach Park Ki-Won was handed a yellow card after disputing a rotation penalty and the Koreans’ early lead evaporated, with Yudin sending down a couple of stinging shots and Zingel coming up with an equally powerful service point. Australia were 8-5 up at the first TTO, but the Koreans got back into the game with a couple of good shots and Uriarte called a timeout at 8-7. A great block by Kim on Nathan Roberts drew the teams level at 10, but three poor plays by Korea saw Australia three points in the clear at 15-12, when Park called another timeout. Three excellent Korean blocks brought Korea back into the set and Uriarte called a timeout with his team ahead 21-20. Roberts came up with two huge hits to give the Australians breathing space and they ended the match with two big blocks: Edgar on Kim and Roberts on Choi.

On the final day, Australia will meet China, while Korea will face Puerto Rico.

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