F I V B  FEDERATION INTERNATIONALE DE VOLLEYBALL
PRESS RELEASE 29.07.2003

Back

USA and Russia score 3-0 victories against Italy and Netherlands

Matera, Italy, July 29, 2003 Italy met the USA on the second day of the final round of the FIVB $1 million World Grand Prix on Tuesday for a replay of the 2002 World Championship final and a determination by both sides that, despite the 3-0 victory for the USA, produced top line Volleyball and kept the capacity crowd here in this southern Italian town on the edge of their seats.
These top two teams generate a powerful chemical reaction at the best of times, and this was one of the best.
The fans braved sweltering heat to support their team who came from a two-hour five set marathon on Monday that was finally conceded to the Dutch. But across the net, was the much-admired Keba Phipps, fluent Italian speaker and long-time player in the Italian professional league, here in a country where volleyball is a passion and a little bit of the Italian passion for elite Volleyball also fell on that territory.
The USA seized and retained the edge in the first set, leading by two-three points, and extending in the final phase to match point at 24-19 with Phipps stepping up to serve. The point fell ingloriously after a block error by the Italians.
Italy looked more concentrated in the second set and held a 2-point advantage at 8-6. An ace by Nadia Centoni to make it 9-6 sent the crowd into a swoon and a triple block for 6-10 made them expend more energy than the temperature allowed.
But the Americans pulled back and Phipps, learning all the tricks she knew in the game, leveled for USA at 11-all and at 15-all, the tempo and temperature on and off the court was rising. The USA again took control with a three-point lead at 20-17 and a right-handed smash by Phipps made it 21-17. Logan Tom aced for set point then drove the ball into the net but minutes later Phipps delivered the winner and the Americans were 2-0 in front.
Meanwhile 30 minutes away in Gioia de Colle, Russia had the Netherlands on the run and were two sets ahead, a signal that their match with Italy had also been costly in terms of energy. The title holders went on to seal the match 3- 0 (25-22, 25-18 and 25-10).
Italy and USA jousted their way through the final set and the lead oscillated between the two rivals. Italy was by now running on the high octane of adrenalin, even though, in the end it was not quite enough to stop USA who whooped and ran off 3-0 (25-19, 25-19, 26-24) winners.
Phipps, both the scourge and the darling of the Italians, top scored with 15 points.


Back