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 Match info | Description
Italy falls to solid American performance

Italy improved on their last match, but it wasn't enough to beat the USA

Florence, Italy, June 19, 2009 - The United States clinched their first success on Italian soil by beating Italy 3-1 (25-21, 30-28, 21-25, 25-21) in the first match of a double-header played at Nelson Mandela Forum in Florence.

It was a well-deserved success, built on a physical dominance that the Italians could not compete against. After an anonymous second match against China last weekend, Andrea Anastasi's team made progress against the Americans but it was not enough to secure a victory.

The Italian's approached the game against the USA very differently than against the Chinese, immediately putting the defending champions under pressure. But after a couple of Italian receiving mistakes, USA led 16-14 at the first technical timeout. Savani's second line attack was the key for an Italian comeback that could have been more effective if only the Italian defense had worked as expected. Alan Knipe's team easily preserved a three-point margin to close the first set 25-21.

In the second set, the United States continued on the same path while Italy paid for some defensive mistakes. A couple of effective attacks by Mauro Gavotto and Matteo Martino helped bring the Italians back into the match, but USA went ahead at the first TTO. The Italians found a way to stay immediately behind the defending champions before taking the lead before the second technical timeout. A dirty ace by Toutzinsky put both teams level. Anastasi called Simone Parodi in for Matteo Martino and a "hands-out" by Sean Rooney gave a two-point lead to the visitors, forcing Anastasi to call another timeout. Italy had the strength to fight back with a couple of very effective blocks by Dragan Travica and Mauro Gavotto. Rooney and Simone Parodi finalized the last balls while Italy played a setball without closing. Gavotto produced a couple of effective blocks but it was the U.S. team that closed the set with a couple of nice attacks by Rooney and captain David Lee.

In the third set Italy started with more confidence, going ahead at the first technical timeout before succumbing to a huge American comeback. Savani gave Italy another chance to go ahead but the U.S. showed their solidity. Italy was one point ahead at the second technical timeout. Some winning series gave Italy a three-point advantage while Alan Knipe put Jayson Jablonsky in for Matthew Anderson. Gavotto and Savani stepped up the Italian attack, while USA were made to pay for one of their rare mistakes in the match. At the end it was up to Savani again to close the match, to finally win a set after dropping the last 5 in World League play.

With the U.S. leading 2-1, the fourth set started with the U.S. taking the lead after some strong battles for the early points. Knipe and his team went ahead at the first TTO, which was a good base to build a more solid margin of advantage. The Americans held on for a 25-21 win.


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