Thursday, September 13, 2007

RI, Oz shine in Asian volleyball matches

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Host Indonesia edged traditional rival Thailand 3-2 on Monday in the round of eight at the Asian Men's Volleyball Championship.

With the support of a boisterous crowd at the Bung Karno main stadium in Senayan, Central Jakarta, Indonesia came storming out in the first set and managed to hold on to take it 25-23.

Thailand set the pace in the second set, which it won 25-22.

The two sides split the next two sets, with Indonesia rolling 25-18 in the third before Thailand evened things up again by taking the fourth set 25-22.

In the fifth and deciding set, Indonesia took charge from the beginning and won the set and the match 15-12.

"The team played very well. Every thing seems to be proceeding as planned. The defense was good. The attack was also quick," said Indonesian assistant coach Machfud Irsyada at the post-match press conference.

Although happy with the result, Machfud said Indonesia's next opponent, Chinese Taipei, would be tougher because the players are taller and the overall team defense better.

Indonesia will meet Chinese Taipei on Tuesday.

Monday was not a good day for defending champion Japan, which fell to Australia 3-2.

Japan, seeking its seventh title at the tournament, looked out of synch as it dropped the first set 25-21.

Japan bounce back and grabbed the second set 25-19 and then extended its lead by taking the third set 25-20.

The Australian players, however, fought back, playing an aggressive brand of volleyball to take the next set 25-20 and even things up at two sets apiece.

In the decisive set, Australia flexed its muscles and dominated with strong blocking. Big serving David Ferguson and spiker Benjamin Hardy helped Australia take the set and the match 15-9.

"We lost a little effectiveness on the outside positions, we had Howard killing the ball but we needed some support from the other guys to also kill the ball and attack," said Australia coach Russel Borgeaud.

"Japan played very well to counter our attacks."

"Japan is a great team and to beat a team like Japan you have to play very well and consistently. We had our ups and downs throughout the game, but there were outstanding efforts by many of our players to turn the match," said Borgeaud.

He said the team was now focused on upcoming matches with South Korea and Iran, which he said would be a test.

Australian captain Benjamin Hardy hailed his team's solid play.

"We were doing a good job, building toward this game," he said.

"Japan is a good team. It was good to have them in the first match and beat them. It's a pretty good day for us," Borgeaud told reporters after the game.

Japan's coach Tatsuya Ueta said Australia played very well, especially with their blocking scheme.

"We had difficulty breaking their blocking," he said.(02)

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