HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. (July 1, 2009) – Looking like a completely different team, Team USA held on to its Pool A lead by defeating Italy 3-1 (25-19, 18-25, 25-22, 25-21)) in an FIVB World League match before 4,183 at the Sears Centre Arena.
The victory improves the United States’ record to 7-3. Italy falls to 6-4.
Sean Rooney led all scorers with 22 points on 19 kills, one block and two aces. Evan Patak added 11 points on nine kills, one block and one ace. Scott Touzinsky scored 11 points on 10 kills and one ace.
Michal Lasko led Italy with 16 points on 13 kills, two blocks and one ace. Simone Parodi scored 15 points on 12 kills, two blocks and one ace.
The U.S. scored on eight aces as opposed to two for Italy.
In the first set, Italy held a slim 8-7 lead at the first technical timeout (TTO). But the United States did not back off and the score remained close. With the U.S. trailing 10-11, Touzinsky scored with a kill from the left. He took the serve and Team USA scored on a Rooney block and a Touzinsky ace. Italy called a timeout, but the damage was done. The United States increased the lead to 16-12 at the second TTO. Italy substituted setter Dragan Travica for Valerio Vermiglio and pulled to within two at 19-17. With the U.S. leading 20-18, a Patak kill put Team USA up by three. Patak took the serve and the U.S. scored two more straight points on kills from Patak and Rooney. Italy could not recover and Team USA won the set 25-19.
The second set looked like it would be a battle as well as Italy held an 8-7 lead at the first TTO. With the scored tied 13-13, Italy took the lead on a U.S. hitting error and then scored the next four points behind the serving of Lasko, who had an ace in the run. A Patak kill ended the run, but the United States could not catch up and Italy won the set 25-18.
Italy once again held an 8-7 lead at the first TTO of the third set. The score stayed close until it was tied at 14-14. Team USA went ahead 15-14 on Rooney’s quick kill and scored again on a kill and block by Lee to lead 17-14. Simone Parodi ended the rally with a kill, but Italy couldn’t score two straight points. Team USA reached set point first at 24-18, but Italy’s Emanuele Birarelli got the serve on a U.S. serving error. Italy scored four straight points, including kills by Sala and Lasko before Team USA won the set when Birarelli served into the net.
Team USA led the fourth set 8-6 at the first TTO and increased that to 16-11 at the second.