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Italy handily beats strong Serbian team in straight sets

11/13/2010

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The Italian wall produced 11 points enroute to the straigh-set victory over Serbia

Tokyo, Japan, November 13, 2010 - Italy came away with a 3-0 victory (25-20, 25-15, 25-22) against Serbia in their semifinal match for the 5-8 positions at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Saturday evening. The Italians prevailed over a tough Serbian team who just couldn't seem to find their rhythm in this contest.

Leading the Italians in scoring was Simona Gioli with 14 points, while Francesca Piccinini and Valentina Arrighetti added 12 and 11 tallies respectively. Serbia's top scorer on the day was Milena Rasic who posted 8. Italy dominated at the net scoring with 11 blocks including three apiece by Gioli and Arrighetti.

Serbia jumped out to a three-point lead early on strong attacking play from Jovana Brakocevic, but Italy would recover to tie at 8-8 on a wonderful block by Valentina Arrighetti. A pair of spikes by Simona Gioli put the Italians up by four, but Serbia hung close as a Jelena Nikolic spike brought them back within one at 19-18. But Serbia committed errors late giving Italy a chance to finish, which they did as Gioli dropped a bomb to take it 25-20.

Italy continued to roll in the second with a great spike by Francesca Piccinini and a clever tip by Eleonora Lo Bianco to put their side up four at the first TTO. Antonella Del Core put two stubborn blocks on Serbia's Natasa Krsmanovic, plus a cheeky spike down the line to extend the lead to 12-6. Italy kept out front as a Lo Bianco and Arrighetti connected on a beautiful combo that saw the latter drive a kill down the line to make it 20-15. Italy scored five more in a row to finish out the set 25-15.

Serbia seemed to wake up to start the third, with Sanja Malagurski dropping consecutive bombs from the right side to help her team up 6-1. But solid attacking by Serena Ortolani and Arrighetti brought the Italians back to tie at 14-14. It stayed tight until Del Core and Ortolani edge Italy out front to close it out 25-22, taking the match as well.
(FIVB)