Australia defeat Mongolia to move into Asian Championships quarterfinal
Australia bounced back from their opening loss to hosts Thailand to capture a must-win match against Mongolia, defeating their rivals rivals in straight sets in the 22nd Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship at Chartchai Hall on Thursday.
It’s the first time the Women’s Volleyroos have qualified for the Asian Championships quarterfinals since 2007.
Beth Carey delivered 16 points from 11 attacks, 3 blocks and 2 aces for Australia, while Stefanie Weiler and Emma Burton kept good company to add 14 and 10 points respectively. Gan-Ochir Khongorzul led Mongolia with 9 points including 8 points from 23 attempts.
After going down in straight sets to Thailand on Wednesday, Australia needed a win against Mongolia to advance to the top-8. However, the Aussies proved a class above the Mongolians to see off the opponents in straight sets 25-16, 26-24, 25-14.
Australia made a good start in the first set, with Rebecca Redgen, who led the team with 10 points in the previous match against Thailand, unleashing some powerful shots to put the team in front 12-10. From there, the Volleyroos scored four points in a row, taking advantage when the Mongolian nerves began to fray, for a commanding lead with a six-point clear at 16-10.
Ganbold Engknaran and Gan-Ochir Khongorzul joined forces to produce aggressive attacks, but could not overcome the much-taller blockers from Australia, whose height average is 186cm against the Mongolians’ 174cm. Australia took the comfortable first set 25-16.
The second set turned out to be closely-contested, with both teams giving their all-out. Leveling 13-13, the Mongolians tightened their defence, allowing the rivals attacking opportunities. The score was tied again at 19-19 and 23-23 before a scintillating block by Mikaela Stevens and Kara Inskip handed Australia the set point. Gantogtokh Khandsuren saved the day for Mongolia, overcoming the taller blockers with her exceptional spike for 24-24. However, the Mongolian challenge was short-lived when Australia went on to score both points to clinch the hard-fought set 26-24.
The third set became one-way traffic. With aces delivered and both Rebecca and Emma Burton steering the side, Australia sealed the deal rapidly 25-14 in this set.
“It was a wonderful match, I think. We came all out and fought very hard, said Australian coach Nicole Hannan.
“The Mongolians did an excellent job as well. I’m proud of my team and it’s a great win.
“We are a young team and with this win, we can grow our confidence.
“It’s nice to have a feeling of winning in this important tournament. I don’t think that there is only one player who played the best in my team today. They played together, connected and supported each other really well,” she said.
The Aussies had extra support for them during the game, as members form the Royal Australian Air force (RAAF) cheered them on.