Iran stamped its class against Australia in three straight sets, 25-19, 25-18, 25-22, to clinch the seventh-place finish in the 2022 PNVF AVC Cup for Women, Monday morning at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
This is the second time the West Asians finished seventh since 2014 in Shenzhen, China. On the other hand, Australia slipped to eighth after ending in seventh in 2018 in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.
Aytak Salamatgharamaleki paced Iran with 15 points on 14 spikes and one service ace, most of which came in the first two sets. Meanwhile, Mahsa Saberi, who was back in her usual place in the starting lineup, added 11 attacks and three service aces for a total of 14.
Salamatgharamaleki and her squad jumped on to the early lead in the opening set, capitalizing on Australia’s slow response on defense. Iran’s spikers also had their way around the opponents’ block with drop balls and swipes working towards its favor for the set advantage.
The second set was more of the same and Iran even added service into its arsenal to slowly build a lead, forcing the Aussies to play catch up throughout the set.
Australia’s net defense finally found its mark in the third set, denying Iran’s third touches to keep the third frame close. Errors, though, saw Australia lose grip of the frame and eventually Iran wrapped up the win with a block.
For Iran’s head coach Alessandra Kampedelli, the whole AVC Cup stint was a great experience. “We were not used to playing against stronger teams, playing at this intensity, at this velocity. We needed this opportunity to play against them. Now, we know that we have to work more and work in a different way to prepare for the team for next September.”
Australia saw Stefanie Weiler take her lead for the squad with 10 markers on six spikes, three blocks, and one block. Middle blocker Kara Inskip, on her part, finished with 10 points as well, on nine attacks and one block.
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