Australia is looking for it’s first win of the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) in Bulgaria this weekend and it starts with a very tall order against Russia on Friday night, who are not only the reigning European Champions, but also boast one of the tallest athletes in the world.
The helloworld travel Volleyroos still have plenty of self belief and firepower despite a winless opening weekend, skipper Harry Peacock says the helloworld
travel Volleyroos just have to put it all together consistently and they will bag some big scalps.
“Yeah for sure we saw in that last set against France on Sunday that we can compete against the best team in the world. We just have to take that into every game we play. Its nothing that we aren’t capable of doing, we just need to bring that now to every game for the rest of the VNL.” said Peacock.
The key to an Australian victory will be overcoming Russian man mountain Dmitriy Muserskiy who stands at 2.18 metres tall or 7.15 feet in the old language and has been a star of the VNL so far.
“There is not much we can do to stop him as we have no one who can physically match him. The key is to serve well to reduce his potential involvement.” said helloworld travel Volleyroos coach Mark Lebedew.
“In block he takes away a lot of the court, but the key there is not to hesitate when taking your best shot. If you give him even a tiny fraction of a second more time he can close off a big part of the court. Otherwise the bigger the blocker the more chance to hit off him!”
The Aussie coach believes they have the game plan to drag down the world ranked number four team into a dog fight which will give them the best chance of notching their first win ever in a major competition against this volleyball super power.
“Russia is a very strong team physically, unmatched in world volleyball, but they can be two dimensional and if you can draw them into a fight, with long rallies and fast transitions, you can bring them down a level.” said Lebedew.
The Australians have no shortage of fire power themselves with Lincoln Williams the stand out so far top scoring for the tournament with 37 points. Williams was the talk of the tournament when he blew everyone away on Saturday with a blistering 127.4km/h serve against Iran.
The coach will want to see more of those serves this weekend but more importantly he’d like to see a cohesive team effort that will yield better results.
“We had some excellent individual performances last weekend. Lincoln was very good against Iran and France. Tom Hodges came on against Japan and did a good job. Nemo Mote was fantastic in attack in that match as well. Luke Perry had a great game against France. But we need to work better together to get better results.” said Lebedew
Australian fans can hope for wins this weekend but while that can’t be guaranteed the coach has ensured fans can expect their team to never give up.
“Fans can expect to see a team that fights for every ball and works together without fear.” said Lebedew
While the Aussies have only one won set out of their three matches so far against Japan, Iran and France the closeness of all of those sets has their coach believing they are not far off the pace.
All matches can be seen in Australia on Fox Sports this weekend.
Fox Sports Broadcast times
June 2 Australia v Russia 0900 (FS 503)
June 3 Australia v Bulgaria 0900 (FS 503)
June 4 Australia v Serbia 1600 (FS 503)