Pool top seeds - Italy and Brazil - win Final Round openers


Italy celebrate their victory in front of a packed home crowd in Milan

Lausanne, Switzerland, October 8, 2014 – Brazil and Italy opened the third phase of the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship Italy 2014 with victories in front of 11,500 fans on Wednesday at Mediolanum Forum in Milan to put one foot into the semifinal stage.

Brazil, ranked atop the FIVB world ranking, shut down the No. 5 China offense in a 25-19, 25-16, 25-15 victory in Pool H to open the day of action. In the second match of the day, host Italy used the energy of their home crowd to defeat the United States 25-23, 25-22, 25-20 that included coming back from late deficits in the first two sets.

The third phase has two pools of three teams playing a round robin over three days. The top two teams in each pool advance to the crossover semifinals on Saturday, followed by the medal matches on Sunday.

On Thursday, Dominican Republic open their third phase against China at 17:30, while Russia will play their first match of the third phase on Thursday against USA at 20:00.

Pool G
October 8: Italy def USA 25-23, 25-22, 25-20
October 9: USA versus Russia, 20:00
October 10: Italy versus Russia, 20:00

Pool H
October 8: Brazil def. China 25-19, 25-16, 25-15
October 9: China versus Dominican Republic, 17:30
October 10: Brazil versus Dominican Republic, 17:30

Italy excite home crowd with sweep of United States in Pool G – Host Italy won their fifth straight match of this World Championship by defeating the United States 3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 25-20) in front of 11,500 fans. Italy's best scorer was Antonella Del Core with 15 points. Jordan Larson-Burbach and Kelly Murphy contributed 10 points each for USA.

Italy utilized a 9-2 advantage in blocks to keep the USA offense in check all night. Del Core was credited with four of her team’s blocks and converted 10 of her 20 attacks into points. Nadia Centoni, who was the second leading spiker through the second round, added 14 points with 13 attack points on 29 attempts.

“I still can’t believe it’s real,” Italy coach Marco Bonitta said. “I am really surprised about the result of the match. I had small hopes of beating such a strong team like USA, but my girls were fantastic. I am really proud of what they did tonight.”

As a team, Italy converted 46.9 percent of their attacks into points with a .378 hitting efficiency. USA was held to a 36.5 attack percent with 12 attack faults. Del Core and Monica De Gennaro were a combined 30 of 43 excellent receptions.

It’s the eight time that USA and Italy meet at Women’s World Championship, which included the Italian’s 3-2 win over the Americans in the 2002 title match. USA won their first eight matches of this World Championship, but have lost their last two.

Brazil drops China 3-0 to start third phase - No. 1 Brazil opened the third round Pool H by defeating China 3-0 (25-19, 25-16, 25-15) to make a huge step towards the semifinals. Thaisa, Jaqueline and Fe Garay led Brazil with 15 points each. The best China scorer was Ting Zhu with 10 kills. Brazil had 11 blocks, while China only two.

“We played very well today, especially in the most important moments when we stayed very focused,” Brazil coach Ze Roberto said. “I think our best skills are block, defense and serve that today helped us a lot.”

“Today we did our best, but Brazil played better,” China coach Lang Ping said. “We are a young team, but we learned a lot from Brazil today. Now we have to think about the next match that will be another story.”

Brazil converted 53.9 percent of their attack chances into points with just seven faults for a .462 hitting efficiency. Fabiana was successful on eight of her 10 attacks. Camila Brait secured 13 digs in the victory for Brazil, while Fe Garay was 21 of 30 on excellent reception chances. Meanwhile, Brazil’s defense held China to a 31.1 percent on attacks, which including 16 attack faults.

These teams have met seven times at the World Championship. China beat Brazil four times (1974, 1978 and twice in 2002) and Brazil won three times (1994, 2006 and today). Brazil are still unbeaten at the 2014 World Championship, winning all ten matches. Brazil have won 31 of their last 33 world championship matches, only losing those two finals in 2006 and 2010. China are looking for their first top 4 finish since 2002, which would be their sixth top 4 finish in total.


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