FIVB Volleyball Girls' U18 World Championship

Press release

Velasco credits substitutes for victory over U.S.

That change made the difference for Iran on Saturday in their game vs USA: Mehdi Mahmoudi replaces starting setter and team captain Saeid Marouflakrani

Tokyo, Japan, November 23, 2013. Iran came back strong from 1-2 in sets and could even fight off match ball in the fourth set before cruising to a dramatic 3-2 victory over USA in their next-to-last game at the 2013 Men's World Grand Champions Cup. Some changes made by Iran coach Julio Velasco paved the way for that hard-fought vicotry.

Iran coach Julio Velasco: "It is difficult to play against teams like the U.S. and Brazil. I often show my players examples of their play. The players showed belief in themselves today. That was very important. We blocked and counterattacked better in the fourth set. The bench players showed great spirit and that is why we won. The players played with confidence because they had nothing to lose. I think it is important that a coach likes his players even if they are not the best. This gives them confidence."

U.S. coach John Speraw: "It is difficult to be on the other side today after getting the five-set victory yesterday. I think the first set was a key. We didn't attack from the frontcourt and the service line like we should have. They made some great substitutions in the fourt set with No. 11 and No. 13."

Iran captain Saeid Marouflakrani: "It is always tough against the U.S. They have strong players. Nobody thought we could win in the fourth set. Everybody was getting ready for the end of the match. Our substitutes made the difference. We played as a team and it was a great game for us. Coach Velasco has changed our mentality toward volleyball."

USA captain William Priddy: "We knew it was going to be difficult. The level of Iran is strong. We are a team that has great things ahead of us. We can take a lot from this match and improve."

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