Italy whitewash Japan to make Final Round


Cristina Chirichella spikes against Japan.

Bari, Italy, October 4, 2014 – Italy clean swept Japan 3-0 (25-23, 25-20, 25-19) at a sold out Palaflorio stadium Saturday evening to secure their berth in the third phase of the 2014 FIVB Women’s Volleyball World Championship.
The third straight victory of Italy in the second round also sent Dominican Republic through to the Final Six round and the hosts will play China on Sunday to vie for the top place in pool E.
The Japanese women, who had won the silver medal at the World Grand Prix Finals last month, were eliminated from the final round in Milan.
Key Points:
· All 24 players of Italy and Japan played the match.
· Nadia Centoni was the top scorer of the match with 18 points. Miyu Nagaoka led the Japanese team with 13 points.
· Italy produced six aces, compared on only one for Japan.

· On August 8 of this year, the two teams met in the World Grand Prix in a match that was played in Hong Kong. Italy prevailed in five sets.
· Japan have beaten Italy once on their turf in a major competition. In the 2003 World Grand Prix, Japan defeated Italy 3-2 in Gioia del Colle.
· In the matches between them, Italy won 42 times, while Japan 32.


Takada Arisa scored all the first four points of Japan, but they were only at 8-7 at the first TTO. Takada improved the gap to 10-7 before Italy tied the score at 16-16. The point-to-point continued till two consecutive services of Valentina Diouf gave her team the opener at 25-23.

Japan started strongly in the second set at 3-0, but a Del Core's ace recovered the gap at 3-3. Carolina Del Pilar Costagrande enlarged the lead for the Azzure at 14-11 and at 19-14, forcing coach Manabe Masayoshi to call a timeout. Centoni blocked Yukiko Ebata and Italy qualified for Final Six of Milan (25-20).
In the third set Italy went up with an ace of Centoni, her 14th point in the match, at 4-2 and built the lead up to 8-5 at the first TTO. A Raphaela Folie's block kept the seven points lead at 17-10. After wasting three match-points, Italy easily won the match thanks to a Japanese error (25-19).


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