Milan, Italy, October 8, 2014 – In front of 11.500 enthusiastic fans at Mediolanum Forum of Assago in Milan, Italy defeated the United States 3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 25-20) to book another key win at the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship Italy 2014.
• It’s the eighth time that USA and Italy have met at Women’s World Championship.
• Italy have won all of their last five World Championship encounters after three straight US victories.
• Team USA's last victory over Italy came at the 1986 World Championship, when they won 3-1 in the first round.
• This is a repeat of the 2002 gold medal match, which was won 3-2 by Italy.
• It was the second straight and overall defeat for USA at these World Championships, after their loss to Brazil on the closing day of Round II.
Italy's best scorer was Antonella Del Core with 15 points. Jordan Larson-Burbach and Kelly Murphy contributed 10 points each for USA.
USA started very tough up to 6-2 thanks to their best spikers Christa Harmotto Dietzen and Kimberly Hill. On the other side of the net, the Italians didn’t want to disappoint their fans, and with great kills from Del Core and Nadia Centoni they came back 8-6 at the first TTO. The second half of the set was full of incredible rallies and defenses to give the hosts a two-point lead at the second TTO. Until the end of the set, the teams were fighting hard, before Francesca Ferretti and Valentina Diouf helped Italy to claim the first set 25-23.
The beginning of the second set was very balanced until Murphy’s mistake from the serve line and a superb kill of Centoni to let the local heroines edge ahead 8-6. For the Azzurre, Centoni and Arrighetti were among the best scorers of the set (six and four points respectively), but Hill and Murphy were also on fire to turn around the score 16-15 for USA at the second TTO. The key moment of the set came again with a double substitution on the Italian side (Lo Bianco and Del Core for Ferretti and Diouf) at 20-20. USA kept the lead until 22-20 before five consecutive points and an ace from Costagrande turned the tables in Italy’s favor, 25-22.
With the support of 11,500 thrilled fans, Italy jumped out for a quick 8-3 lead in the beginning of the third set. The Italian show was on the way with unbelievable defenses from Cristina Chirichella and Lo Bianco to open the gap to seven points at 16-9. USA Coach Karch Kiraly tried to give USA new hopes with several substitutions but it was already too late. Italy never looked back until 25-20 and a wonderful Costagrande spike closed the match 3-0.
Italy will enjoy a rest day on Thursday to be back on court on Friday against Russia, while USA will take on the Russians on Thursday.