Australia will contest a sixth consecutive men’s volleyball World Championships after beating Chinese Taipei 3-0 at the AIS in Canberra in the final game of the Asian qualifiers.
The Helloworld Travel Volleyroos had to win the final match to earn the second available place at next year’s world titles in Bulgaria and Italy, after Japan secured the first spot with a 3-2 win over Australia on Saturday night.
Despite the 3-0 scoreline, Australia had to work hard, coming from behind in the opening two sets to win 25-23, 25-23, and then withstanding a late challenge from Chinese Taipei to win the third set 25-23.
“It was the main goal for the season, it’s a big achievement,” coach Mark Lebedew said.
“This squad has been amazing for the whole season. We’ve fought like lunatics I guess for two and a half months now.
“It was hairy today, there were a lot of nervous moments, a lot of nervous guys, but they all stepped up in the big points and we stayed with them the whole time.”
Helloworld Travel Volleyroos co-captain Nathan Roberts said his team showed they can play good volleyball when it matters.
“It was scrappy and they put up a fight,” Roberts said.
“What please me most is the moments we were there, we made the plays. That’s good volleyball and we’ve done that all year, and we did it again today, and now we’re off to the World Championships.”
Setter Harry Peacock gave his big hitters plenty of good ball all night, with Lincoln Williams in particular enjoying a strong game. Libero and co-captain Luke Perry once again showed why he is held in such high regard in volleyball circles.
“To get to the World Championships is awesome, it’s the biggest event in our sport, bigger than the Olympics, so we’re stoked to be going again,” Perry said.
“I think it’s pretty exciting to have all these new guys coming through. We have a bit of depth, which is pretty unusual for us.”
In Sunday’s early game, Thailand secured its first win of the week with a 3-1 result against New Zealand, who finished the tournament without a victory.
The Australian team will head to Indonesia next week for the Asian Championships.
Pic by @APAC SportMedia