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06-09-2014

ARGENTINA PAVE ITS WAY TO 2ND ROUND WORLD CHAMP

Wroclaw, Poland, September 6, 2014 – Argentina are secured of a spot in the Round of 16 of the FIVB Men’s World Championship by scoring a straight-set victory over Australia (25-18, 25-19, 25-18) in a match of Pool A at Centennial Hall on Saturday. The victory earned Argentina a 3-1 win-loss record while Australia dropped to 1-3. The Aussies play a crucial match with Venezuela while Argentina meet hosts undefeated Poland on Sunday.

• Argentina outserved Australia 8-1

• First back-to-back victories for Argentina since 1990

• Australia have lost their last three matches in a row at 2014 World Championship

Facundo Conte had 19 points as the best scorer for the winners, followed by Pablo Crer and Martin Ramos with 11 and 10, respectively, in the victory. Edgar Thomas was the only Australian player who scored in double digits with 13 points.

Australia started the match better than their opponents but two unfinished moves by Thomas Edgar and smart spikes by Jose Luis Gonzalez and Martin Ramos gave Argentina a 7-5 lead. Following the first technical time-out, the South American team steadily increased the gap thanks to Facundo Conte’s counter-attacks. The Australians had problems with reception and they could not stop strong Argentinean spikes. When head coach Jon Uriarte’s team were losing by seven points, they managed to win three plays in a row and captain Aidan Zingel played a wonderful block. Still, Gonzalez and Conte were unstoppable. The set ended up with the result 25-18 for Argentina due to Ramos’s ace.

The weak point for both teams was the service as the Australians and Argentineans both kept crashing the net. In addition, Gonzalez and Conte’s spikes were ineffective because of great opponent blocks. Thanks to that, the Australians managed to lead 8-6 going to the technical time-out. The break had clearly helped the Argentinians as they made up for the result and led 15-12 as Conte and Nicolas Uriarte showed good form. When Argentina had a four-point lead, Velasco decided to substitute Uriarte with Luciano De Cecco. The Aussies tried to threaten the South American team with superb kills by the likes of Zingel, however the relaxed Argentineans finished the set 25-19 following Santiago Darraidou’s kill.

Velasco’s team could say they is better to be lucky than good. They started with the weak Sebastian Sole’s service as the ball almost did not pass the net. The Argentineans improved their reception, but Edgar’s fantastic attitude was the reason Australia led 8-7. Following the second technical time-out, the Aussies were three points ahead, but Conte, Ramos and Sole’s precise kills were the keys to Argentina’s success. When they gained the 20th point, Australia got confused and Uriarte’s time-out did not help. Following Conte’s block-out move, Argentina won the set 25-18.

Sharing the same huge love for Volleyball

The match between Argentina and Australia in Wroclaw is being called the battle between the son and the father as Nicolas Uriarte, the setter of the Latin American team, and Jon Uriarte, the coach of Volleyroos, met each other again from opposite sides.

It is the fourth time (three WC and one OG) the two representatives of Uriarte family meet in the same pool of a major tournament on different sides of the net.

Both men feel really happy about it and seem to enjoy the situation.

“One the one hand it may looks strange, but we are trying to concentrate like it is a normal match. I wish my dad the best and I am really glad to be able to share with him a tournament like this,” Nicolas says.

His father Jon commented: “It is a part of our jobs, but it is also a huge joy of life – being at this kind of celebration where we can express ourselves.”

Nicolas and Jon belong to an unofficial group named ‘the great father’s club’, which gathers the present players and their fathers, the former representatives of Argentina. The other members of the club are Facundo Conte and his father Hugo.

The father’s sport life had a significant influence of Nico’s future life.

“I was very young and I liked going to his practices and watching his games. When I was very little I was doing some sport and I learned a lot from watching him playing. I think he taught me a lot,” the young Uriarte said.

The senior Uriarte recalled the beginnings of his son’s adventure with volleyball.

“When Nico was two-years-old we played with a balloon. We used to sit in our living room, take chairs as a net and just have some fun,” he said.

Jon was a coach when Nicolas went to the sport school and after a couple of years the son came to the father with a decision about his future.

“I came to my dad one day and told him that I wanted to start playing volleyball. Then, there wasn’t a group of my age, so he founded the mini-volleyball school,” the younger Uriarte said.

“Unfortunately we didn't have a mini-volleyball section in our project, so I created one. I asked my friends and found out that there were also three other boys with a wish similar to Nico’s. The dreams came true and the group made progress very quickly. They played beautiful volleyball and I enjoyed it a lot at the time,” Jon added.

The father and son are very close with each other and despite their busy life, they stay in touch all the time.

“On the first day we arrived to Wroclaw, he came to the hotel, but we haven’t met. In Poland we just crossed each other because of our work, but we talk almost every day. We joked a little, but have never talked seriously about the Argentina and Australia match. We are talking about many other things, but not about that,” Nicolas said.

Asked about the communication with his son Jon said: “We talk often about everything, about volleyball as well. It’s natural that we share thoughts about it because it is part of our lives.”

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