Australia defeat India in opening AVC Cup Match
The Australian Men’s Volleyroos have opened their AVC Cup tournament in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand with a straight set victory over India in Pool C.
The team have come into the AVC Cup off the back of a challenging Volleyball Nations League tournament, and the recent Korea-hosted FIVB Challenger Cup, where the new-look Men’s Volleyroos have been focusing on developing as a team.
Australia made a strong start, with the 206cm-tall left-hander Matthew Aubrey penetrating the Indian defence with his powerful attacks to put the team ahead 4-1 before stretching it to 10-6. The momentum was with Coach David Preston’s tall players and they continued to put India under pressure, utilising their height advantage and power at the net to widen the margin and take the first set 25-17.
India, which succumbed to their first loss to Japan on Sunday, tried hard to recover from a slow start shown in the first set, but they still found Australia too strong in the second set.
With Aubrey unleashing back-to-back attacks, the Aussies raced to an initial 8-4 lead. However, India heightened their defence, allowing the tough rivals scoring difficulty and at the same time struck back with aggressive cross-court spikes and effective drop shots to catch up with the rivals at 12-12.
The on-going battle became tight with the Aussies surging away and the Indians attempting on followups. Leading commandingly 23-19, Australia allowed India only one more point before Thomas Heptinstall carried out a well-placed serve which went unanswered. Australia claimed the thrilling set 25-20.
The Volleyroos took command in the third set to lead 7-2, thanks to terrific display including their solid blocks and powerful attacks from instrumental captain Beau Graham. As the Indian nerves began to fray, Australia grabbed the opportunity to bag consecutive points through their mighty attacks and aces to widen the margin and wrapped up this one-sided set 25-12 and match.
Graham topped all scorers with 20 points from 15 attacks and 5 effective blocks, while teammates Heptinstall and Aubrey kept good company to add 13 and 10 points respectively. Giri Harshit led India with 10 attack points.
Opposite Spiker Aubrey said there were some nerves coming into their first game in Nakhon Pathom, but the team started to gel once they settled into the game.
“It was a good match once we got going,” Aubrey said.
“We started with a little bit of nerves but once we settled in, I thought we did quite well.
“We’ve got some things to take away from this game, but hopefully we can learn from this and go out strong against Japan tomorrow,” he said.
Head Coach Dave Preston said he was impressed with the Aussie game today, and is looking forward to the team growing from the experience for the next match on Tuesday.
“I’m very proud of the way we played today, I think we did a really good job with a lot of the details that we wanted to focus on,” Preston said.
“I think we played defense for the most part okay, but I know we can play a little bit stronger than that in the future, and I know with Japan tomorrow we’re going to need to improve in that area.
“I am proud of our composure today and how they handled themselves and am looking forward to the next couple of matches in front of us now.”
The Volleyroos will next face Japan at 3pm AEST on Tuesday 9 August. See the event schedule HERE