Australia’s Annelies Jones and Alisha Stevens have led a remarkable come back to stun Iran at the U17 Volleyball Championships in Nakhon Pathon, Thailand.
Jones and Stevens both top scored with 16 points a piece to defy all odds and give Australia a five set win (22-25 20-25 25-19 25-21 15-9) to top Pool C.
Stevens was powerful right from the outset and gave the Aussies an 8-6 lead in the opening set but Iran got it together quickly and from then on the set was a real battle with Iran eventually taking it 25-22. With that Iran had confidence and took a commanding 2-0 set lead (25-20 second set).
The Aussies looked gone for all money down 4-12 in the third but then they threw caution to the wind, attacking, serving with all they had and the comeback had begun, squaring the set up at 18-18 before going on to take the third set 25-19.
Momentum now with the Aussies saw them race out to a 14-9 lead in the fourth set with Jones and Stevens combining brilliantly on attack going onto win the set 25-21 and now this one was going to a tie breaking fifth set.
By now there was just no stopping the Aussie girls taking the decider 15-9 in an incredible and stunning fightback and a 3-2 win.
“It was a fantastic match. Wonderful to come out on top of the pool and see the things we’ve been working on come together. said Australia’s head coach
“There’s still a long way to go but for today we did a wonderful job. We got steam rolled in the first two set as my girls have never played at this international level before so it was a great learning curve and they bounced back brilliantly.”
Alissa Kinkela was also a great contributor for Australia adding 13 points including 10 kills.
President of Volleyball Australia, Craig Carracher described the win as a pivotal moment for Australian Volleyball.
"This young team has fought back to beat one of the powerhouses in Asian sport and one committed to developing their women’s game. Australia competed with humility and strength and this was a very dignified win." said Carracher.
Australia have now topped Pool C with two straight wins and will next play the winners of Kazakhstan V India.