Tokyo, Japan, June 2, 2016 – Australia got back on the winning track as they defeated Japan 3-0 (25-23, 25-19, 29-27) at the Men’s World Olympic Qualification Tournament at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Thursday.
Thomas Edgar had an excellent all-around game and topped all scorers with 23 points. Edgar had 17 spikes, three blocks and three service aces to power the Australian offence. His Japanese counterpart Kunihiro Shimizu produced 14 points. Australia mounted a wall of 10 blocks that restricted Japan to score on crucial moments in the match.
Australia and Japan began with a lot of intensity as they traded powerful spikes. Japan managed to work on their offence early with well-placed serves and middle hits that helped them gain the lead at 16-14. The Australian then applied pressure on the Japanese attackers and were suddenly on the lead at 24-21. Masahiro Yanagida and Yuta Yoneyama, saved two points on the serve and attack to trail Australia 24-23, but Thomas Edgar’s cross-court spike closed the set 25-23. In the second set, Australia’s high blocks intimidated the Japanese hitters to provide the former with a 16-13 lead at the second technical timeout. Edgar gave a superb performance as he scored at every opportunity that helped them secure the second set 25-19.
Australia continued with good rhythm at the start of the third set but they started to slow down in the middle of the set when their opponents became active on offence. Shimizu and Yuta Yoneyama powered Japan in crucial plays to get the upper hand towards the end of the set at 21-18. Australia wiped out the Japanese lead to deadlock at 24-all, and then the succeeding plays resulted to a series of deadlocks and lead changes. Paul Carroll and Aidan Zingel scored the final two points to seize set and match 29-27.