Tokyo, Japan, June 1, 2016 – France endured a long, tough fourth-set match with Australia 3-1 (25-22, 25-18, 16-25, 44-42) at the Men’s World Olympic Qualification Tournament at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Wednesday.
France improved their record to 3-1, as Antonin Rouzier, Earvin Ngapeth and Nicolas Le Goff had a prolific scoring day. Rouzier top scored for France with 23 points, while Ngapeth and Le Goff added 18 and 17 points, respectively. Australian opposite Paul Carroll topped all scorers with 34 points.
Australia bravely confronted France in the opening set, when the French had a 5-3 start, the Australians equalised at 7-all and 11-all. France could not really stage a complete run as Australia kept a good pace against them. France, however, safely reached the end of the set with a 25-22 finish. France’s Ngapeth and Australia’s Carroll went head-to-head on offence and ended the set with equal seven-point outputs. France controlled the next set with Rouzier helping out Ngapeth on offence. France were able to contain Australian opposite Carroll and maintained a good lead to easily finish the set at 25-18 with a superb block from Le Goff.
Australia got a 7-5 lead in the third set after Luke Perry’s great effort to keep the ball in play. Carroll drilled through the French defence that notched more points to keep the Australian lead at 18-12. Australia had a 6-4 run before Max Staples’ service ace concluded the fourth set 25-16. France had a hot start in the fourth set with a 4-0 lead, but Australian net defence applied pressure on the French attackers, which caused the European side’s offence to drop. Australia snatched the lead at 12-11. France restored their lead as they better execution of their plays and their defence worked. Towards the end of the set, Rouzier was a marked man and could not score on his attacks, while Carroll led the Australian upsurge and challenged France to a showdown in the final stretch of the extended fourth set. France finally denied Australia, as Ngapeth put his team ahead with an attack from the left flank and Kevin Le Roux hit the match winner from the middle at 44-42.