Volleyball berth still alive after impressive win over Japan
Published 3 June 2016 (AEDT)
VOLLEYBALL: The Australian men’s volleyball team has kept its slim chance of Olympic qualification alive with a 3-0 (25-23, 25-19, 29-27) win over host nation Japan in Tokyo on Thursday night.
Australia heads into Friday’s rest day level on points with Canada and one point behind China, with two matches to play.
The race for the fourth position and a ticket to Rio will be fought out between those three teams, but Australia has the toughest draw with matches against China and ladder leaders Poland to come.
Volleyroos captain, Thomas Edgar, returned to the line-up after missing Wednesday’s match against France with an abdominal strain and had a major impact, finishing with a game-high 23 points.
Australia’s most capped player, Nathan Roberts, was once again solid with 11 points, but it was the Volleyroos presence at the net which caused Japan the most trouble.
Australia picked up 10 points through blocks, compared to Japan’s two.
“This has been a difficult tournament, but we have played better day-by-day,” Australian coach Roberto Santilli said.
“We deserved to win tonight but we were lucky. We made some substitutions in the third set and that was key.”
Captain Edgar was relieved to get a win.
“I cannot be more excited and proud,” he said.
“The Japan defence was tough. Our bench players did an amazing job.”