Bari, Italy, September 16, 2018 – An unstoppable Srecko Lisinac scored 18 points to lead Serbia to their third win in four matches in Pool C of the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship as they beat Australia 3-1 (25-20, 21-25, 25-17, 25-19). Lisinac shared the role of ‘man of the match’ together with team captain Nemanja Petric, who scored 15 points. Moreover, the Serbian team could count on Marko Podrascanin (13), Marko Ivovic (12) and Aleksandar Atanasijevic (12) in their efforts to edge their opponents.
Despite the loss, Australia still has a one-point advantage over Cameroon in the race for a spot in the next round. Max Staples was the best scorer (12) for the Volleyroos, while the change between team captain Paul Carroll and Lincoln Alexander Williams did not produce the desired results.
In the evening match of the fifth day of competition at PalaFlorio in Bari, Serbia and Australia vied for a ticket to the next round. Captain Petric and his teammates longed for a three-point victory in order to remain close to pool leaders USA and take advantage of the rest day of the Russian team. The players around coach Mark Lebedew, on the other hand, aiming to finish fourth, needed to keep their advantage over Cameroon, who earlier in the afternoon had lost to USA.
One more time, Serbia coach Nikola Grbic changed his starting six, this time including Nemanja Petric, while Uros Kovacevic enjoyed some rest. Neven Majstorovic played as libero, thus stepping in for Nikola Rosic. Among the Australians, team captain Paul Carroll came back to the court, after his substitute Lincoln Alexander Williams had played for most of the time in the last couple of matches.
The match was initially a close affair. As the score moved to 11-11, the atmosphere got tense after a controversial point that went from team to team, after video challenge checks. Serbia eventually managed to run ahead at the end of the set while Australia played the ace card with the help of Trent O’Dea, who cancelled the first set point for Serbia. A merciless Podrascanin asserted the Balkan side’s intention to finish it off, thus claiming the set at 25-20.
Serbia kept a slight advantage during the early stages of second set, but Australia came back strong to win the set at 25-21. Paced by an implacable Lisinac, Serbia ran ahead in the third set, with a 16-9 lead at the second technical timeout, ultimately prevailing with a 25-17 final score.
The Australian opposite Williams came back to the court in the fourth set, as Grbic responded by replacing Marko Ivovic with Uros Kovacevic and the Balkan side was still running the show. In the final part of the set, Milan Katic got some playing time in order to improve the Serbian defence and reception. Marko Podrascanin’s block ‘killed’ at 25-19 the last Australian attempt of a late comeback, thus finishing the match off 3-1.