Nikola Kovacevic sparks Serbia victory over Australia


Serbia improved their record in Pool A to 2-1 after subduing Australia

Wroclaw, Poland, September 4, 2014 – Serbia defeated a high-spirited Australia 3-1 (25-23, 25-22, 22-24, 25-17 in a Pool A match of the FIVB Men’s World Championship at Centennial Hall of Wroclaw on Thursday.

Nikola Kovacevic’s 20 points led the Serbian attack followed by 17 from Aleksandar Atanasijevic. Marko Podrascanin (five blocks) and Milos Nikic contributed 13 and 12 points, respectively, in the victory.

Key facts

• Serbia next play Venezuela and Cameroon to complete the first round
• Serbia have defeated Australia in their two meetings at the world championship
• Australia meet Argentina and Venezuela during the weekend

Aidan Zingel was the best Australian with 13 points, followed by Paul Carroll and Adam White who chipped in with 12 and 11 tallies, respectively.

At beginning of the first set, Australia were better than Serbia as they managed to grab a three-point lead. On several occasions Thomas Edgar hurt his opponents with powerful spikes. However, the strong point of the Serbian team was a great reception thanks to libero Nikola Rosic. With the help of Nehemiah Mote and his wonderful kills, the Australians were leading 8-6 going to the first technical time-out. The double block made by Edgar and Mote also strengthened their lead. The Serbians had problems with finishing moves as Nikola Kovacevic and Alexandar Atanasijevic, who was celebrating his 23rd birthday, were trying to break through the Australian defence. When head coach Igor Kolakovic let Srecko Lisinac enter the court, surprisingly the Australia’s team started to make a lot of errors in attack and Serbia won the first set 25-23.

During the next part of the match, Atanasijevic was giving Australia problems with his superb service. He also showed complete concentration handling difficult the Aussie spikes. His attitude on the court let Milos Nikic finish moves with perfect kills so that Serbia were leading 8-5. Australia’s team could not find a way to threaten the Serbians because top scorer Edgar was making mistakes in the attack. Meanwhile Atanasijevic was spiking more and more effectively so that his team were calmly increasing their lead. The set was finished with the result 25-22 following Serbia’s block-out move.

The Australians clearly woke up in the third set and they quickly took the lead as the captain Aidan Zingel and Thomas Ewen Douglas-Powell spiked intelligently. Head coach Jon Uriarte’s team were almost infallible making fantastic blocks and Adam White gained points thanks to his aces. At the second technical time-out, the Aussies were leading 16-12. Serbia, who were expecting a quick victory in this part, were nervous and made lots of errors especially in service. However, the Europeans did not want to give up without a fight. They scored four points in a row and substitute Uros Kovacevic beat the Australian block with a superb kill. Still, the opponents lead was too big so after Paul Carroll’s spike, Australia won 25-22.

Lisinac entered the court at the beginning of the fourth set and he immediately scored some vital points with strong spikes. The Serbians, obviously motivated by the loss in the previous set, were showing aggressive and admirable volleyball and they quickly jumped out to lead 9-5. In addition, Uriarte’s time-outs were not helping Australia as they were making mistakes in service and blocking. The Europeans had a chance to increase their lead and they successfully did so. Atanasijevic served with a great strength and Nikola Kovacevic and Marko Podrascanin did not let Australians complete their spikes. The match was finished by Milos Nikic whose kill gave Serbia the victory, 25-17.


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