HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. (July 10, 2009) – Italy used strong offense from Cristian Savani and Michal Lasko as it defeated the United States 3-1 (20-25, 25-20, 25-22, 26-24) on Friday in an FIVB World League match before 4,310 at the Sears Centre.
Both teams now have records of 6-3, however Team USA maintains its lead in Pool A with a point lead of 18-17.
Lasko led all scorers with 18 points on 16 kills, one block and one ace. Savani added 16 on 15 kills and one ace.
Clay Stanley paced Team USA with 16 points on 15 kills and one ace while Sean Rooney added 15 on 14 kills and one block.
Italy came out strong in the first set and led 8-4 at the first technical timeout (TTO), scoring three straight points behind the serving of Savani, who answered a U.S. timeout with an ace. The United States came back and tied the score at 11-11. The score was still tied at 17-17 when Touzinsky took the serve for Team USA and sparked a 4-0 run. Italy couldn’t come back and the U.S. took the set 25-20.
Italy again led 8-4 at the first TTO of the second set, but this time it did not let the United States back in the set. With Italy leading 16-11 at the second TTO, the U.S. scored three straight points to cut Italy’s lead to 16-14 but a kill by Lasko stopped the surge. With Italy leading 21-19, Vermiglio took the serve and helped Italy to reach set point at 24-19, including a kill from Birarelli. Team USA scored a final point on a Lee kill, but Italy won the set on a quick kill by Birarelli.
Trailing 3-4 in the third set, Italy scored the next four points behind Vermiglio’s serve, including two blocks, and went on to lead at the first TTO, 8-5. Italy continued to lead 16-14 at the second TTO, but the United States scored the next two points, including an ace by Stanley, to tie the score at 16-16. The score remained close until it was tied 19-19. A U.S. hitting error followed by two kills from Savani put Italy up 23-19 and Team USA never recovered.
The Italian offensive attack continued in the fourth set. With Italy leading 21-16, the large Sears Centre crowd cheered Team USA on a six-point run behind the serving of Suxho, who has substituted for Hansen. Team USA led 22-21. But the final battle resulted in a 26-24 set victory for Italy.