French six rule Australians in four-setter
• France solidly used its usual starting six from start to finish, with Yoann Jaumel briefly seeing action in the third set.
• This also brought a solid scoring output for the six players, four of which scored in double figures, headed Antonin Rouzier with 24 points.
• Earvin Ngapeth and Kevin Tillie added 16 points each for the French side, matching Australia’s top scorer Thomas Edgar’s output.
• France’s excellent serve of 10 aces made a big difference in the match, Australia only scored three aces.
Australia raced to a 6-3 lead in the first set but later on allowed France to shift the momentum to their side and built their own advantage 22-18. Some faulty attacks by the Frenchmen brought the lead to within two markers as the Australians jammed Rouzier’s attacks. The French opposite somehow redeemed himself with an attack from the right side and assisted on a block to close the first set 25-22.
France had a better start in the second set and led 8-2 at the first technical timeout. The French attackers were highly efficient on their offence that kept the Australians at bay whenever they would spark up a run. France secured the second set easily 25-18.
In the third set, Australia managed to lead 14-13 but their block did not hold off Rouzier’s offence that switched the lead 21-19 in favour of France. Australia forced France to a deadlock in the closing moments of the set.
As France was about to close the set at 24-23, a long rally favoured Australia in a challenge call as Ngapeth hit the net on the play, forcing another deadlock at 24-all. A series of lead changes occurred until the French defence collapsed as Thomas Edgar found an open court for an attack, followed by a service ace to extend the match to a fourth set 32-30.
France easily recovered from their fourth set blunder, while the Australians had a defensive meltdown. France took the set and match 25-17.