Qatar gained a good start at the Quarterfinal stage of the 21st Asian Senior Men’s Volleyball Championship, with a 3-0 win (25-20, 25-20, 25-21) against Australia on Thursday afternoon at the Chiba Port Arena.
Youssef Oughlaf, Belal Nabel Abunabot, and Nikola Vasic were Qatar’s main scorers as they combined for a total of 37 points.
Australia started the match with their system running, activating a strong middle with captain Nehemiah Mote, while Thomas Edgar held fort at right wing. They also showed how tight they could play in transition, given their adept floor defense.
Qatar needed to find a way to work around their opponents’ quality but committed costly errors on attack. They tried serving better as captain Ibrahim Ibrahim managed three aces, to come within a point, 13-12. They also activated the middle attack to add to Oughlaf’s right wing mission. As their opponents suffered from errors, Qatar took the first set, 25-20.
The Qatar side enforced their middle game further with Abunabot upfront. They also earned off their opponent’s numerous attack miscues and service errors. During extended sequences, setter Milos Stevanovic made good decisions to ultimately enable his hitters toward a good swing. Oughlaf operated with more energy and consistency from the right flank, which helped Qatar succeed with 25-20 in the second set.
In the third set, Australia changed up their right-wing hitter to Curtis Stockton, who was able to connect on several plays. Max Staples and Edgar were set up from the left side, but the Volleyroos could not seem to get their rhythm going. They needed to control the middle more to increase their chances of getting back in the match.
Qatar found good benefit from Vasic who swung from the flanks and also played fantastic game on the receive. He scored the final point for Qatar’s 25-21 finish in the final set.
On Friday, Qatar will face China at 12:00 local time, with Australia playing the hosts Japan in the main event at Chiba Port Arena starting 18:00 local.