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FIVB Women's Olympic Games 2008

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Aguero returns for Italy in win over Kazakhstan

Italy's Taismary Aguero receives against Kazakhstan on Monday
Beijing, China, August 11 - With the return of point-scoring machine Taismary Aguero, world No. 2 Italy moved towards a potential first-ever Olympic gold confidently after a comfortable 3-0 win over Kazakhstan in Women's Volleyball on Monday.

Cuban-born Aguero, whose mother passed away after illness, appeared at the Beijing Institute of Technology Gymnasium after missing the team's first match against Russia on Saturday. The former Cuba veteran had planned to travel to her birthplace to see her mother but returned on learning of her death.

Aguero appeared on court in the second set and contributed 10 points for Italy.

Italy's Head Coach Massimo Barbolini praised Aguero at the post-match press conference.

"Aguero is an excellent player and she is also very strong. She is now in the great pain of losing her mother and she is also striving to recover from the sadness," said Barbolini.

According to the coach, Aguero returned to the team on Sunday and participated in training.

"I want to stress that she has been going through a hard time, both mentally and physically. During the past three days, she had spent more time in the plane than on the ground. But I believe she can recover gradually," he said.

Aguero's return also cheered up her team-mates, who upset the mighty Russia with solid defense and coherent attacks on Saturday.

"Aguero now is back, which make us even more confident in the rest of the matches. She has always been an important player of the team and we will also give her support to help get over the hard time," said Italy's captain Eleonora Lo Bianco.

The Italians showed their determination to win from the first minute against Kazakhstan. The tall, lean Kazakhs posed a threat to their rivals at the net, but their attacks could hardly be effective in front of the rivals' tenacious defense system. In addition, their weak defense was exposed to the quick attacks from Italy's wing spikers Fracesca Piccinini and Serena Ortolani.

Italt took the match 25-19, 25-15 and 25-21 in 66 minutes. Piccinini and Yelena Pavlova from Kazakhstan were top scorers with 12 points apiece.

Earlier in the day, the 2006 World Championship bronze medalist Serbia also harvested a second victory by breezing past Olympic newcomer Algeria in straight sets, laying a solid foundation to enter the quarter-finals, while the North Africans suffered another blow after the 3-0 loss to Brazil on the opening day.

Twelve teams are competing in two groups in the Preliminary Round with the top four finishers from each group qualifying for the quarter-finals.

Italy is grouped with Algeria, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Russia and Serbia in Pool B while defending champion China is with Cuba, Japan, Poland, United States and Venezuela in Pool A. The knockout stage runs from Aug. 19 to 23. (Xinhua)
  
 

 

  
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