Rio dream over for volleyballers
Published 5 June 2016 (AEDT)
VOLLEYBALL: The Olympic door has closed on the Australian men’s volleyball team, a 3-0 loss to Poland dashing their last chance of qualifying for Rio 2016.
“It's a crushing loss,” Australian captain Tom Edgar said.
“We had a chance to secure a trip to the Olympics today, but Poland has a deep team with many world-class players.
“I feel a bit lost, a bit empty. It's tough to put into words about today's game.”
Australia needed to beat Poland, who had already qualified for Rio and who rested many of their top players, to move ahead of Canada on the qualification table on the final night of competition in Tokyo.
But the Australians were showing signs of fatigue after a long week of volleyball, and after starting strongly had no answer for the Europeans, the reigning World Champions.
The helloworld Volleyroos rallied in the third set, and after saving a match point could not turn the game in their favour, losing 3-0 (25-21, 25-15, 27-25).
Captain Edgar was well held by Poland all night, with veteran Nathan Roberts again showing his value to the side with a team-high 12 points.
Australian coach Roberto Santilli said it was hard to put into words his disappointment.
“As the coach I feel responsible for the performance of the players,” Australian coach Roberto Santilli said.
“We worked the whole tournament to get to this point, where we had a chance to qualify. We just collapsed in the last game.”
Australia had been hoping to qualify for its fourth Olympic Games, after competing in the 2000, 2004, and 2012 Games.
The four qualifiying places in Tokyo went to Poland, France, Iran and Canada, with Australia finishing fifth in the eight-team competition.