Aussies go down in epic with France

Published 2 June 2016 (AEDT)


VOLLEYBALL: Australia, without its captain and number one point scorer, has suffered another close loss at the men’s volleyball Olympic qualifiers in Tokyo, including a fourth set that lasted an incredible 86 points.
The Aussies lost 3-1 (25-22, 25-18, 16-25, 44-42) to current World League champions, France, holding set point on six occasions during the epic fourth set.
The loss adds to the pressure on Australia to qualify for the Olympics, with Australia needing to finish as the top Asian side to guarantee a ticket.
The Aussie side was forced to go into the match without captain Tom Edgar, who finally succumbed to an abdominal strain that had been dogging him since the start of the tournament.
But in Paul Carroll Australia has a more than adequate replacement, and he proved his worth by ending with a game-high 34-points, one of the best individual performances of the tournament so far.
“The disappointing thing about this is that if we play this way against any team, then we will win,” Carroll said.
“France are one of the best teams in the world. If we played like this against Iran or any team, we would have a chance to win.
“We are proud of our performance.”
After the heartbreaking 5-set loss to Canada on Tuesday, Australia needed to bounce back for one of their most challenging games of the week.
Australian coach Roberto Santilli said it was tough to play such a close match, but come away empty-handed.
“Sometimes volleyball is beautiful because you don't know what will happen,” Santilli said.
“My players put their hearts on this game. It's a pity we played this game and did not get any points.
“We have three games left and will try to win all three of them.”
The result leaves the Volleyroos with just one win after four matches, but with a very winnable match against hosts Japan on Thursday. 

Ross Solly
Volleyball Australia

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