United States beat Italy in three sets to remain on top
The Americans remain unbeaten at the top of the standings with 12 points from four matches, while Italy dropped to 1-3.
American opposite and FIVB Hero Destinee Hooker and Italian veteran Francesca Piccinini shared the scoring honours with 15 points each.
After an even start, Italy achieved a two-point lead in the first frame with Piccinini spiking twice to put Italy 10-8 up. The Europeans’ advantage vanished when Logan Tom came from the backcourt to tie it 14-all. Following a good serve by Serena Ortolani, the Italians took advantage of a mistake by Lindsey Berg to lead 18-15. When the Italians looked like closing the set, the Americans came from behind to tie it at 22. In the end, two points by Tayyiba Haneef-Park sealed the set for USA, 27-25.
Playing a good transition game, the USA dominated the beginning of the second set and led 6-2 with a service point by Tom. Italy’s Jenny Barazza stopped Hooker, but the Americans managed to stay ahead to the second technical timeout, 16-13. The difference increased to 20-13 with Christa Harmotto blocking Sara Anzanello. A service error by Giulia Rondon closed the set.
The Americans kept things at a high level in the third set and rolled to an 8-3 behind Larson at the first technical timeout. With Cristina Barcellini and Raphaela Folie in their lineup, Italy found new motivation, but the USA did not reduce its level and Hooker spiked them to a 17-9 lead. In the end, Jordan Larson spiked hard to end the match.
In their second match in Sao Bernardo, the Americans will play against Germany, while the Italians will face hosts Brazil.