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Italy claim third successive straight sets World League win with victory over Cuba

After two straight-set wins over France in week one, Italy completed another impressive victory, this time over Cuba in Ancona
Ancona, Italy, June 2, 2011 – The opening match of the FIVB World League 2011 week two saw eight-time champions Italy maintain their perfect start to the competition with an impressive 3-0 (25-19, 25-21, 27-25) win over 2010 World Championship silver medalists Cuba in Ancona on Thursday. The win in front of more than five thousand fans at PalaRossini sees Italy, ranked sixth in the world, remain on top of Pool D with three wins from as many matches while world No. 4 Cuba have now suffered two defeats from their three games.

Italy were well led by captain Cristian Savani with 14 points while left armer Michal Lasko was also prolific with 13. For Cuba, veteran Henry Bell was the standout being the only player in double figures with 15 points.

The win, which not only consolidates Italy’s good start to the competition, also maintains their dominance over Cuba in the World League having won 22 of the 29 matches between the two countries.

Cuba started better the first set, jumping to an 8-5 lead at the first technical time-out. Italy closed the gap thanks to some impressive offensive work from Lasko and soon led 16-12 at the second technical time-out thanks to a well-worked reception and aggressive attack. The home side maintained their advantage until the end of the set closing it out 25-19 with Lasko leading the way with five points.

The second set saw both sides trade points with Italy holding the slight advantage at the first technical time-out 8-7. Savani was Italy's go to guy and with coach Mauro Berruto becoming increasingly demonstrative at courtside, an outstanding block of Ivan Zaytsev closed the set 25-21. 

Cuba tried to stay in the game in the third set, leading at the first technical time-out 8-6 thanks to some great spiking from Bell who was head and shoulders above his team mates in terms of scoring prowess. Despite some improvement in rhythm from Italy, Cuba still maintained a two-point-advantage at 20-18 before the decisive comeback of Italy that sealed another impressive victory.

The two teams meet again on Sunday in Andria.

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