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Monday, July 15, 2024

Iran scores 2nd straight upset VNL victory

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Underdog Iran scored its second straight upset victory, pushing aside a the higher-ranked Netherlands side, 25-22, 22-25, 25-21, 20-25, 15-10, on Thursday in Week 3 of the Men’s 2024 Volleyball Nations League (VNL) at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

Team skipper Milad Ebadipour took charge in the final set with five of his 13 attacks points, allowing the Iranians to turn the tables on the Dutch spikers.

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The 15th seed Iranians’ shock win came a day after their spiker Poriya Hossein Khanzadeh Firouzjah and skipper Ebadipour led the team with 23 and 20 points, respectively, as they pulled off a 26-28, 25-23, 25-18, 26-28, 15-13 shocker against Team USA on Wednesday night.

“These games have been hard for us, changing the mentality of the players. They are just fighting before, and now, they are fighting to win,” said Iran coach Payman Akbari.

Amin Emaeilnezhad showed the way for the Iranians with 29 points during their one-hour and 54-minute clash with the Netherlands.

Their second consecutive triumph saw them move up in the standings with their 2-8 win-loss card.

The Netherlands, behind Nimir Abdelazez with 37 points, slipped down the standings at 3-7.

The Iranians moved away from a 4-all tie after Ebadipour’s attack off Abdelazez pulled through. Esmaeilnezhad’s block and a Dutch error propelled them ahead, 7-4.

Earlier, Stephen Maar made 15 points, including 14 kills as Canada posted back-to-back wins, this time stopping Germany, 25-19, 25-18, 25-21.

The Canadians followed up on their stopping of Japan, 25-21, 20-25, 25-15, 20-25, 15-10, in last Tuesday’s opener, to move up with a win-loss record of 6-4.

Six-foot-10 Arthur Szwarc tallied 11 attacks for the Canadians, who stayed in contention for a finals berth.

Canada meets Brazil on Friday at 3 p.m., while Germany battles Team USA on Saturday at 11 a.m.

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