By Sports Reporter/ Chiba, Japan
Qatar registered a scintillating straight-set win over Australia in their first match in the quarter-finals league stage of the Asian Volleyball Championship in Chiba, Japan, on Thursday. Qatar will take on China in their final group match today and a victory will ensure their place in the semi-finals.
Youssef Oughlaf (14), Belal Nabel Abunabot (13) and Nikola Vasic (10) were the main contributors in Qatar’s 3-0 (25-20, 25-20, 25-21) victory as they combined for a total of 37 points. Milos Stevanovic, captain Ibrahim Ibrahim and Renan Ribeiro also played their part in the victory.
Australia started the match with their system running, activating a strong middle game with captain Nehemiah Mote, while Thomas Edgar held the fort at the right wing. They also showed how tight they could play in transition, given their adept floor defence.
Qatar needed to find a way to work around their opponents’ quality but committed costly errors on attack in the first set. They tried serving better as Ibrahim managed three aces, to reduce the gap to pone point (13-12) and later took the first set 25-20.
The Qatar side enforced their middle game further with Abunabot upfront. They also earned off their opponent’s numerous attack miscues and service errors. During extended sequences, setter Milos Stevanovic made good decisions to ultimately enable his hitters toward a good swing. Oughlaf operated with more energy and consistency from the right flank, which helped Qatar claim the second set.
In the third set, Australia changed up their right-wing hitter to Curtis Stockton, who was able to connect on several plays. Max Staples and Edgar were set up from the left side, but the Volleyroos could not seem to get their rhythm going. They needed to control the middle more to increase their chances of getting back in the match.
For Qatar, Vasic, who swung from the flanks and also played well and scored the final point for their 25-21 finish in the final set.
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