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Women Volleyball Team Beats Australia 3-1

 As the Iranians remained in superb form with improved defense, Australia suffered a sudden drop from its best. As the Iranians remained in superb form with improved defense, Australia suffered a sudden drop from its best.

Iran struggled to beat Australia in dramatic four sets 22-25 25-23 25-22 25-20 in the 5th-10th playoffs in the 6th AVC Cup for Women in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, on Friday.

Mona Ashofteh led Iran with 16 points including 12 attacks and a team-leading 3 blocks, while Neda Chamlanian contributed 12 points including 10 attacks. Strongly-built Rachel Rourke scored a team-high 19 points for Australia, Asianvolleyball.net wrote.

Australia, saddened by the straight-set loss to Iran in the pool round-robin preliminaries earlier, made a confident start in the opening set to lead 8-7 and increased it to 15-12, thanks to its intensified defense and exceptional attacks from the 192cm Rachel Rourke and Beth Carey.

Iran fought back hard to level at 17-17 and 19-19. Australia maintained its form to advance with a two-point clear at 23-21 before Iran called a timeout. But a nice touch by Agnieszka Kudziela handed Australia a 25-22 win.

Holding a 1-0 advantage, Australia remained in good form in the second set as Rourke let loose her fine shots in the Iran area to put her team in front with a 3-point clear at 10-7 before Iran, led by Mahsa Saberi, hit back to level at 20-20. The Iranian women played better after that to take the hard-fought set 25-23.

The third set turned out to be a see-saw battle when both sides traded blows, with Rourke attacking powerfully at the net for Australia and Maedeh Borhani Esfahani orchestrating the Iranian defense.

 Best From Both Sides

 After seeing Iran take a 7-4 lead, Australia stormed back to win five successive points to surge ahead 9-7. From then on, both sides gave the best they had which saw the score tied at 20-20. Rourke steered the Australians to the vital 22-21 lead, but they played with more mistakes to go down 22-25 in the set.

Australia become more prone with serving and attacking mistakes in the fourth set, which saw Iran leading with three points ahead at 11-8. As the Iranians remained in superb form with improved defense, Australia suffered a sudden drop from its best.

Iran widened the gap to 16-9 and 23-15. Aussies understandably did not want to give up easily and fought back bravely with sharp spikes from Jennifer Sadler and well-placed serves from Beth Carey to come closer at 19-23. But Iran had enough to hold them off, with Borhani attacking the last point for the team. Iran snatched the 25-20 win in the set.

With the dramatic 3-1 triumph, Iran advanced to contest the 5th-8th playoffs round on Saturday.

Following the loss to the title-holder China on Thursday in the quarterfinals, Iran failed to secure a semifinal berth. China, Japan, Taiwan and host Thailand are in the tally for the final berth.

 

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