Tokyo, Japan, November 12, 2009 – World Cup champions Italy cruised past the Dominican Republic 25-19, 25-18, 25-20 to match Brazil by remaining unbeaten on the third day of the FIVB Women's World Grand Champions Cup 2009 at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Thursday. Italy has now won three straight and the Dominicans have one win against two losses.
Four players got into double figures for the Italians, with Lucia Bosetti the top scorer on 12 points. By contrast, only one Dominican reached double figures – Prisilla Rivera with 16 points.
The early exchanges were close, with the Dominicans getting a good spike and block from Rivera, but the same player was blocked by Italy's Bosetti to give Italy a one-point lead at the first technical timeout. Milagros Cabral de la Cruz helped the Dominican Republic to a two-point lead at the second TTO, but a series of spikes by Serena Ortolani turned things around for the Italians and they went into the lead at 18-17. The lead grew to four points at 23-19 and Italy earned setpoint when a Cabral shot hit the net and spun out wide. Francesca Piccinini then blocked Altagracia Mambru to seal the set.
Italy led from start to finish in the second set, with Dominican coach Marcos Kwiek having to call an early timeout at 1-4. Rivera was in the thick of things for the Dominicans, but two spiking errors by the same player allowed Italy to move into a four-point lead at 9-5. More errors saw Italy pull away and by the second TTO, they were seven points ahead. Then the Dominicans were blocked three times in a row – Ortolani stopped Rivera twice and Piccinini halted Jeoselyna Rodriguez – and the Italians were cruising. At one stage, they were 10 points clear. Jenny Barazza finished off the set with a spike.
There was little to choose between the two teams in the third set, but the Italians kept the advantage at the two TTOs. They were one point ahead at the first and two at the second. Simona Gioli scored three out of four points in the first period, but she was let down by a series of errors by her teammates. It was all-square at 13, but Italy pulled away after the second TTO to open up a four-point gap, the Dominicans not helped by poor receiving and serving. Bosetti had the honor of finishing the match off with a pair of spikes.