Iran defeat Australia in rematch at AVC Cup for Women

September 21, 2018

Iran struggled to repeatedly beat Australia in dramatic four sets 22-25 25-23 25-22 25-20 in the 5th-10th playoffs round of the 6th AVC Cup for Women on Friday.

Mona Ashofteh led Iran with 16 points including 12 attacks and a team-leading 3 blocks,while Neda Chamlanian contributed 12 points including 10 attacks. Strongly-built Rachel Rourke scored a team-high 19 points for Australia.

Australia, sadden by the straight-set loss to the same rivals in the pool round-robin preliminaries earlier, made a confident start in the opening set to lead initially 8-7 and increased it to 15-12, thanks to their intensified defence and exceptional attacks from the 192cm Rachel Rourke and Beth Carey. Iran gradually pulled their game together and fought back hard to level at 17-17 and 19-19. Australia maintained their good show to advance with a two-point clear at 23-21 before Iran called a timeout to improve their luck. Unfortunately, their efforts were in vain. A nice touch by Agnieszka Kudziela handed Australia an impressive 25-22 win, asianvolleyball.com reported.

Holding a 1-0 advantage, Australia remained in good form in the second set as Rourke let loose her fine shots in the Iran area to put her team in front with a 3-point clear at 10-7 before Iran, led by Mahsa Saberi, hit back to level at 20-20. Iran played better after that to take the hard-fought set 25-23.

The third set turned out to be a see-saw battle when both sides traded blows, with Rourke attacking powerfully at the net for Australia and Maedeh Borhani Esfahani orchestrating the Iranian defence. After seeing Iran take a 7-4 lead, Australia stormed back to win five successive points to surge ahead the closest rivals to 9-7. From then on, both sides gave the best they had which saw the score tied at 20-20. Rourke steered the Australians to the vital 23-21 lead, but they played with more mistakes to go down 22-25 in the set.

Australia become more prone with serving and attacking mistakes In the fourth set, which saw Iran in leading way with three points ahead at 11-8. As the Iranians remained in superb form with improved defence and consistent play, Australia suffered a sudden drop from their best. Iran widened the gap to 16-9 and 23-15. Aussies did not want to give up easily and they fought back bravely with sharp spikes from Jennifer Sadler and well-placed serves from Beth Carey to come closer at 19-23, but Iran had enough to hold them off, with Maedeh attacking the last point for the team. Iran snatched the 25-20 win in the set.

With the dramatic 3-1 triumph, Iran advanced to contest the 5th-8th playoffs round on Saturday, while Australia will play their last match against Kazakhstan in the 9th-10th playoff on the same day.

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