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2009 FIVB Women's Grand Champions Cup
Tokyo - Fukuoka, Japan
10 - 15 November 2009

 Match info | Description
Italy start well with win over determined Thailand

Italy's Antonella Del Core makes a great save as the European champions started well with a straight sets win over Thailand

Tokyo, Japan, November 10, 2009 – Italy overcame a game Thailand in the first round of the FIVB 2009 Women’s World Grand Champions Cup, running out 27-25, 25-22, 25-22 winners.

As coach Kiattipong Radchatagriengkai wanted, the Thais showed plenty of spirit, none more so than in the first set when they came from 15-10 and 19-14 down to lead 23-20. Onuma Sittirak displayed some awesome defending, while teammates Wilavan Apinyapong and Pleumjit Thinkaow contributed some effective offense.

The Italians completely lost their rhythm midset, sending shots long, receiving poorly and at times looking to be in total disarray. Spikes by Jenny Barazza and Serena Ortolani helped close the gap and a brilliant block by Ortolani on Sittirak leveled the scores at 23-23. Italy edged ahead on a crisp spike by Antonella Del Core, but Thailand responded with a spike from Thinkaow, who then smacked a great serve down the middle to give her team set point. But a Thai error brought the scores level and a clever soft shot by Sittirak that went wide handed the Italians set point, which Barazza converted with an excellent block on Apinyapong.

The Thais continued to play positive Volleyball early in the second set and held the Italians all the way through to 15-15, neither side managing to create a gap of more than two points. Italy relied on Ortolani for the big hits, while the Thais got good service from Malika Kanthong and Amporn Hyapha. But the Thais lost the plot at 15-15, hitting a couple of shots wide and making a double hit, and the Italians soon found themselves 19-15 up, a lead they were able to hold onto for the rest of the set. A decent spike by Simona Gioli brought up setpoint and Del Core finished things off with a cross-court spike.

Thailand had the early advantage in the third set, with Sittirak delivering a couple of good spikes and Apinyapong making a tremendous block on Gioli. But the Italians were level at 11 and the scores stayed tight to 19-19, with the Italians getting good spikes out of Francesca Piccinini and Del Core.  Ortolani contributed some good spikes as Italy edged toward matchpoint, which came on a spike by Gioli. Del Core finished things off with a clever little push shot that the Thais couldn't return.


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