Andria, Italy, Aug 3 2003 - The crowds came out in force to see Italy pound Korea in their final match with nothing more at stake than not finishing at the bottom of the finals table. Indeed Italy went out with a flourish 3-1 (25-19, 25-17, 22-25, 25-13) and put on a face-saving show for their fans.
In the opener, Italy put big hitters Elisa Togut, Simona Gioli and Valentina Borrelli to good use, while the pint-size 162cm libero Paola Cardullo guarded the defense and they ran up an early lead.
The Koreans worked to get the measure of the Italians and trailed two points at 9-11 but at 16-11 Italian coach Marco Bonitta started to smile. Korea scrambled back to 16-19 on a big spike from Lim Yu-Jin but looked uncomfortable. Gioli put away a punch for 23-18. Korea fended off Italy's first set point but not the second and they closed at 25-19.
Korea held on for the first 6 points in the second before Italy surged ahead to 14-10 and Korea looked decidedly dejected at 21-16 after Gioli put away a superb spike. Korea defended the first match point at 24-16, but Gioili, in fantastic form, drove home the winner seconds later and Italy were 25-17 and 2-0.
Korea took control of the third in the last stages, led at 20-18 and finally converted set points at 25-22. Then Italy made no mistake with the remaining set, allowing Korea only 13 points as they continued to pierce the airspace with spikes that left their opponents powerless.