Australian players celebrate after winning the pass to the second round
Wroclaw, Poland, September 7, 2014 – Australia recovered from a 2-1 deficit and went on to achieve a five-set (25-20, 23-25, 21-25, 25-16, 15-9) victory in the winners-take-all match with Venezuela for the last ticket of Pool A to the second round of the FIVB Men’s World Championship at Centennial Hall on Sunday.
• Venezuela committed 38 unforced errors to 23 by Australia
• It was the first ever meeting of these two sides in a major tournament
• Edgar’s 25 points are the highest total for an Australian player in the event
Australia qualified in fourth place with a 2-3 (5 points) record while Venezuela leave with a 1-4 mark and 4 points.
Thomas Edgar led the Aussies with 25 points, supported by Aidan Zingel who tallied 15, including five blocks. Adam White contributed three blocks among his 10 points. Venezuela’s Kervin Piñerua finished with 24 while Maximo Montoya added 18 in the loss.
Victory in this match guaranteed qualification for the second round, so both teams began highly focussed and motivated. Stand-out players, Kervin Pinerua from Venezuela and Thomas Egdar from Australia were scoring vital points with perfect spikes. With a smaller number of errors and great blocks by the likes of Aidan Zingel, the Aussies took an 8-5 lead before the technical time-out. Pinerua with superb serves managed to surprise libero Luke Perry, however the opponents calmly and systematically increased their lead. Venzuela did not give up as Ernando Gomez and Maximo Montoya played a few spectacular kills. The Australians were leading at 21-15 but problems with receiving the ball and Pinerua’s fantastic aces pulled them closer at 21-19. Head coach Jon Uriarte was forced to ask for two time-outs which obviously helped his team as they regained superiority and following Edgar’s ace, they won the first set 25-20.
The next set was very level as again with the teams doing what they could to shock their opponents. Before the first technical time-out, neither Australia nor Venezuela could take a clear lead. Thanks to Australian service errors and fantastic moves by Jesus Chuourio Pirela and Jose Carrasco, Venezuela’s team led 16-15 before the break, but still it was only one point ahead. Following a splendid block-out move by Jhoser Contreras and then an excellent Fernando Gonzalez single block, Venezuela had a first set point. Edgar and substitutes Grigory Sukochev and Paul Carroll tried to change things but Chuourio Pirela’s kill gave Venezuela a 25-23 victory.
Edgar was frustrating Venezuela’s plans in the third set as his spikes were hard to stop. Nathan Roberts’ kills were too strong for the opponents’ defence and Australia gained a two-point lead before the technical time-out. However, head coach Vicenzo Nacci’s team managed to catch the Aussies and following Pinerua’s kills and several Australia errors, the Venezuelans jumped out to lead 18-13. Captain Aidan Zingel and coach Uriarte tried to motivate their team but Venezuela’s team found their best form. The Australians were looking for their chance in challenges but following Zingel’s serve into the net, the South American won 25-21.
In the fourth set, the Aussies were playing as the world No. 12 ranked team should play. They quickly gained a five-point lead as Adam White spiked from the wing. Venezuela did not know how to receive strong Australian hits and how to finish their moves, so they were aiming off target. With a lot of Pinerua’s mistakes, Contreras was the one who was scoring points for No. 35 ranked side. Still, the Australians, with top scorer Edgar, were out of reach. A great block was shown by White but Zingel and Edgar were those who inspired Australia’s 25-16 victory.
The first tie-break at Centennial Hall, was won by Australia as they controlled the whole set. Uriarte’s team block was unbreakable for Venezuela. Meanwhile, Edgar produced some superb kills and before the change of ends, the Aussies led 8-3. Following the technical break, Contreras managed to beat the opponents defence although it was pretty certain that the South American side would lose the match. Motivated by their supporters, the Australians defeated Venezuela. The set ended 15-9 following Zingel’s superb spike.