ITALY STARES DOWN AUSTRALIAN CHALLENGE


 
Australian volleyball coach Roberto Santilli believes his team can still match the top teams in the world, despite losing all three matches on the opening weekend of World League in Sydney.
 
The helloworld Volleyroos showed improvement despite losing 3-0 (25-23, 25-23, 25-20) to Italy on Sunday afternoon.

The team has been without captain Tom Edgar (abdomen) and middle blocker Nehemiah Mote (knee) over the weekend, and will also lose former captain Aidan Zingel (ankle) for next weekend’s fixtures in Rome.

Australia were beaten 3-0 by Belgium after controlling most of the opening set on Friday night, but were then soundly beaten by current World League champions, France, on Saturday night.

On Sunday Santilli promoted 22-year-old Jordan Richards to the starting line-up, and he responded with a powerful display of serving, blocking and spiking to lead the scoring for the Volleyroos with 15 points.

“I think we played much better than the first and second day,” Santilli said.

“We put some young guys out there, and Richards and (Harry) Peacock played well.

“Even if we play well, at the important moment we always make a mistake. It is through experience mainly.”

Captain Greg Sukochev said despite the injuries the team was on the improve.

“We matched it with them for almost the entire game,” he said.

“Unfortunately we couldn’t take away any sets, but point-for-point it was a real battle. The stepping stones are there, we just have to take the steps.”

Australia will get a chance of revenge against Italy and Belgium next weekend, as well as USA, before heading to Dallas for the final weekend of World League.