Iran Overpowers Australia

The team gained its first points at the league.The team gained its first points at the league.

Iran overpowered Australia in its second match of FIVB Volleyball Men’s Nations League on Saturday.

As usual, Iran did not play with much fanfare but coach Igor Kolakovic’s men proved once again a well-oiled machine as Ali Shafiei yielded 17 points, including 3 blocks and 2 aces, wrote.

Shafiei had a large support crew but special mention goes to Seyyed Mohammad Mousavi (8 spikes, 1 block, and 2 aces) as well as Amir Ghafour (6 points).

Opposite spiker Williams was the most gallant in defeat, top-scoring at 18 ahead of Luke Smith (12 points) but the 24-year old misfired and struggled against a solid Iran block.

After losing their opening Nations League games on Friday, both teams were after their first win of the season. It was also a matter of regional domination as Iran and Australia met for the third time in a world competition with one win each before.

After losing 1-3 to host France the day before, Iran started strongly on the back of an interesting run behind the line by middle blocker Seyyed Mohammad Mousavi.

 Maintaining Composure  

But it was not enough to hold off the Asian counterpart as the Aussies clawed back into the game as Lincoln Alexander Williams managed yet another powerful spike. Sneakily, Iran remained within reach of Australia only to leapfrog in front at the end of the first set (25-23).

The Volleyroos started the second set strongly but Iran, thanks to its efficient block led by Ali Shafiei, managed to keep composure. Both teams fought tooth and nails as Mousavi leveled at 14-14. Two spikes from Williams then sent Australia in front but the 2007 Asian champs could not remain there despite an impressive double block from Max Staples... In a brilliant rally, Iran came once again from behind and closed the deal as Ali Shafiei stole the set with a powerful spike (25-23).

It was more of the same in the third as Iran proved highly efficient, thanks largely to a dominating block. And when Mousavi found the target, there was nothing from stopping Iran to claim its maiden victory. Not Smith’s spike at 13-10, not even Shafiei’s wide attempt at 18-14. With the wind in their sails, Iran sealed the deal with another misfire by Williams (25-21).

The result so far (before the games of the third day) puts Iran in seventh place in the 16-team tournament with Poland, France, Italy, the US, China, and Brazil claiming the first to sixth places.

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