Thursday , June 13 2024

Australia bounces back, boosts semis bid

Tipping Australia vs India AVC Challenge Cup

Australia celebrates against India at the AVC Challenge Cup.–MARLO CUETO/

MANILA, Philippines — Australia bolstered its semifinal chances in Pool A after overcoming gritty India, 26-24, 25-16, 19-25, 29-27, in the AVC Challenge Cup on Saturday at Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

Coming off a tough first loss to Alas Pilipinas two days ago, Caitlin Tipping poured in 27 points off 19 attacks, four blocks, and four aces as they improved to a 2-1 record, needing to beat Iran on Sunday at 4 p.m. to enter the semifinals.

Australia needed to overcome a late rally by India, which forced three deuces, before Ella Schabort brought back the Volleyroos at match point, 28-27. The Indians had a setting error as they absorbed their second straight loss, sliding to a 2-2 card.

SCHEDULE: Alas Pilipinas at the AVC Challenge Cup 2024

“It’s super important for us since it’s a must-win for us. I think we just kind of dropped the ball in the third set. We didn’t come back firing like we did in the first set and they came back at us even harder. We just underestimated them a little bit but they’re such a good side and we just can’t do that,” said Tipping. 

“I think we just trusted each other that we were doing our job and managed to have the ball. We knew that we would get the job done at the end of the game.”

Schabort and Emma Burton delivered 16 points each, while Cassandra Dodd provided eight of the team’s 16 blocks to finish with 13 points.

Anusree Poyilil led India with 14 points. Soorya Soorya and Radha Anagha chipped in 13 points, while Shaalini Saravanan added 10.

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READ: AVC Cup: Alas Pilipinas beats taller Australia to kick off campaign

Australia vs India AVC Challenge Cup 2024

Australia vs India at the AVC Challenge Cup 2024.–MARLO CUETO/

Meanwhile, Kazakhstan and Hong Kong found themselves tied for the second seed with identical 2-1 records, clashing for the last semifinal berth in Pool B on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Zhanna Syroyeshkina nailed 19 kills of her 25 attempts and had four aces to finish with 23 points in Kazakhstan’s bounce back 25-17, 25-13, 25-22 win over Indonesia.

The Kazakhs recovered from a tough loss to defending champion Vietnam, which booked a spot in the semifinals with a 3-0 record.

“I was ready to help my team and I was ready to get the reception, and I wanted to win this game because it was so important for us because we lost yesterday,” said Kristina Belova, who played sparingly in the past two games after scoring 15 points in the opener against Singapore.

“The first option [against Hong Kong] for us is to win, this is the main goal.”

Indonesia bombed out of contention after dropping to a 1-2 record with Junaida Santi leading the way with nine points.

Hong Kong dominated the also-ran Singapore, 25-14, 25-12, 25-12, behind Lam Shum and Wing Lam Chim’s 17 and 15 points, respectively. 

“At the beginning of the game, we were so nervous, but our coach told us not to be. We played our normal game the entire time so we could win,” said Chim, who fired 10 attacks and five aces.

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Wing Lam Pang, Ka Yi Fong, and Wing Ni Yim contributed five points each to send Singapore to a winless Pool B campaign with a 0-4 record, relegated to the battle for ninth place against the cellar-dweller of Pool A.

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