FIVB Volleyball Girls' U18 World Championship

Press release

Trentino win electrifying battle over UPCN in five sets

Trentino celebrates a hard-fought victory that keeps their semifinal hopes alive

Belo Horizonte, Brazil, May 7, 2014 - In the best FIVB Men’s Club World Championship match so far, Italy’s Trentino defeated UPCN from Argentina in a terrific five-setter at Belo Horizonte. The former four-time champions of the tournament won 3-2 (23-25, 25-23, 38-36, 22-25, 15-11) and now the path to the semifinals is more clear.

Tsvetan Sokolov from Bulgaria performed in a great way for Trentino, finishing as the main scorer with 26 points. Theo Lopes was also in good shape for UPCN with 24 kills and Bogdan Olteanu charted 23 points, but it wasn’t enough for the victory.

The South American vice-champions began the match blocking their way to 5-2, through Theo, José Santos Junior and Demián González, but fellow Argentinean Sebastián Solé also blocked for Trentino and established a 7-7 score. Sokolov improved his attacks and the Italian side jumped to 14-11, but later on Bogdan Olteanu brought UPCN back to life at 18-17. The Rumanian player and Filippo Lanza exchanged spikes in a very close ending, but Trentino committed a net fault at 24-22 and Martín Ramos sealed the set by 25-23. 

Both teams kept struggling in the second set, with Trentino taking a slim lead at the first TTO (8-6), but a great save from González allowed Theo to level the game again. Sokolov came out with a clever spike against three Argentinean blockers at 12-10, and the opposite defeated some resilient defense from UPCN to settle a 16-14. This time, Trentino was ahead at the final track, with a block from Donald Suxho at 20-18, and Solé unleashed another one for a 23-20 score. Trentino stayed on top and reached the tie after a long serve from UPCN, at 25-23.

Ramos blocked his former national team partner Solé and UPCN escaped to 7-5 in another close chapter. A while later, Junior also blocked, stopping Sokolov to stretch the lead to 10-7. Even though Italian libero Massimo Colaci defended well and Trentino exploited some counterattacks to reverse numbers (15-14), they made some errors afterwards and UPCN regained control to 18-16. Emanuele Birarelli placed Trentino ahead at 20-19 with a spike and a block, but Theo blocked Sokolov at 24-23 and gave way to a nail-biting finish. Both had his share of opportunities and finally Trentino prevailed, with an electrifying 38-36 after two good floated serves from captain Birarelli.

Trying to forget the previous set, UPCN stepped to 8-5 with Theo at full power, but a couple of mistakes gave Trentino the chance to regroup and Birarelli blocked Junior to a slight 11-10. However, Theo landed a soft serve right on the sideline and UPCN bounced back to 14-11. Filardi also used brains over brawn at 16-13 and he showed great skills to dodge the block at 18-16. In the final track, Colaci defended and Lanza hammered the ball in the second touch for an Italian 20-19, but Trentino failed twice in a row and Theo smashed the 25-22.

Italian Roberto Serniotti quickly called for a timeout when his side fell to 3-1 at the tie-breaker, but González defended and Olteanu closed the counterattack to 4-1. Although Trentino found calm and worked the way to a 7-7 with Sokolov, Theo put UPCN ahead at the court change. With a superb block, Sokolov gave Trentino the lead (10-9), Birarelli did the same and Lanza completed an amazing display at the net by 13-10. Two errors on UPCN finished the game by 15-11.

UPCN now has the hard task to defeat Al-Rayyan to confirm themselves into semifinals, while Trentino will close Pool B against the already eliminated Esperance Tunis.

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