VTAM CONFIDENCE BOOSTER ON EVE OF OLYMPIC QUALIFIER
May 30, 2012
The Australian Men’s Volleyball Team (VTAM) has received a huge confidence boost on the eve of this week’s Olympic Qualification Tournament in Tokyo.
VTAM pushed reigning Asian Champions Iran to five sets in a scrimmage match in Tokyo last night, going down 17-15 in the fifth and deciding set.
Iran came out all guns blazing to win the opening two sets against the determined VTAM, 25-22 and 25-22 before the Australians showed outstanding attacking skills to fight back and win the next two sets 25-23 and 25-22.
Western Australian 21-year-old Outside, Luke Smith at 79 percent kill statistics and zero errors was Australia’s best.
Australia’s High Performance Manager Matt Sebbens said: “That’s a great preparation for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament starting on Friday. From all reports the boys attacked very well with a 57 percent kill record with Luke Smith outstanding.
“To come back from two sets to love down and force a fifth set against the Asian Champions, who are ranked 12 in the world and one of the tournament favourites will be a huge confidence booster for the boys.”
The VTAM, currently ranked 22 in the world, will start its bid for only a third Olympic appearance against Venezuela (WR16) on Friday.
The Australians have only previously appeared in two Olympics, Sydney in 2000 and Athens in 2004.
After facing Venezuela, VTAM will then meet Puerto Rico (WR17) on Saturday (June 2), Iran on Tuesday, June 5; tournament favourites and world number 7 ranked Serbia on Wednesday, June 6; hosts Japan (15th) on Thursday, June 7; Korea (20th) on Saturday, June 9, before the final game against China (10th) on Sunday, June 10.
The winner of the tournament will qualify for the 12-team Olympic competition in London 2012 and will be joined by the best placed Asian team. If the winner is an Asian team then the next best Asian team will also qualify.
The Australians arrived in Tokyo last Thursday after a month long training and competition-based camp at the AIS European Training Centre in Varese, Italy, which included a series of warm up matches and a drawn four game series against the Netherlands.
The Australian Squad: