Press release

Gold-medal match of Italy versus Brazil a rematch in the FIVB Volleyball Women's Junior World Championship Peru 2011

Italy coach Marco Mencarelli has steered his team from an opening day loss to Brazil into the gold-medal match against the same Brazil team that as a group has not lost in four years

Lima, Peru, July 31, 2011 – The FIVB Volleyball Women’s Junior World Championship Peru 2011 final classification match participants are set for action on July 31, including the gold-medal match between Italy and Brazil at 18.00 at Eduardo Dibos Gymnasium in Lima, Peru.

The gold-medal match concludes the tournament in Lima’s Eduardo Dibos Gymnasium. Brazil is the only undefeated team in the tournament having gone 3-0 in the first round Pool B and 3-0 in the second round Pool F. Brazil reached the gold-medal match with a thrilling five-set victory over United States. Italy finished second to Brazil in Pool B with a 2-1 record, then went on to win Pool E second round with a 3-0 record. Italy advanced to the title match with a three-set win over China. Brazil defeated Italy in four sets on the first day of competition on July 22.

The bronze-medal match will have China playing United States at 14.00 in Eduardo Dibos Gymnasium in Lima. China won Pool D in the first round with a 3-0 record and won their first two matches in the second round before losing to Brazil in three sets on July 28. China lost to Italy in the gold semifinal round. The United States nearly upset Brazil, a team that has played together for four years and has not lost a youth or junior-level event during this time span, before falling 16-14 in the fifth set. Previously, the Americans won Pool C with a 3-0 record and started Pool E with a win over Dominican Republic, but has since lost three straight including matches to Italy, Peru and Brazil.

Dominican Republic and Peru will play for fifth place in the tournament at 16.00 in Lima. Dominican Republic finished second in the first-round Pool D and was part of a three-way tie based on a won-lost records (1-2) in the second round with Peru and the United States in Pool E. However, Dominican Republic and Peru finished third and fourth, respectively, based on group points won during the pool. On July 27, Dominican Republic topped host Peru in three sets during the second round. Peru won Pool A in the opening round with a 3-0 record, but lost two of three matches in the second round.

The seventh-place match will feature Slovakia versus Belgium at 12.00. Belgium defeated Slovakia in five sets on July 28 to finish the second round. Belgium finished second in Pool C in the first round and in third place in the second round Pool F. Slovakia finished second in the first Pool A and fourth in the second round Pool F.

Poland and Russia will meet on the court to decide ninth place in the tournament at 14.30 in Callao. During the second round, Russia defeated Poland in three sets en route to finishing Pool H with a 3-0 record after placing third in Pool D in the opening round. Poland, which was 0-3 in the first-round Pool C, finished second in Pool H during the second round.

The 11th-place match will have Cuba playing Japan at 12.30 in Callao. Cuba won Pool G in the second round with a 3-0 record, including three set win on July 28, after going 0-3 in the first round Pool B. Likewise, Japan finished 0-3 in the opening round before finishing second in Pool G.

Korea and Serbia will look to conclude the tournament with a victory in the 13th-place match at 10.30 in Callao. Both teams finished third in their first-round pools, then third in their second round pools.

The 15th-place match will be an all-Africa continent match between Tunisia and Egypt at 8.30 in Callao. Tunisia won a five-set match over Egypt during the first round on July 24.

Live scoring, results, news and photos on FIVB Volleyball Women's Junior World Championship Peru 2011.

Brazil, looking for a seventh title in the event, reached the gold-medal match with seven victories and only four sets lost along the way. The South American powerhouse, ranked No. 1 in the FIVB world ranking for the female youth and junior level, defeated United States 25-15, 25-19, 20-25, 20-25, 16-14 Saturday night in the semifinal round.

Brazil’s Gabriela Souza leads her team in scoring with 103 points for fifth-best overall in Best Scorer, while Samara Almeida (97 points) and Sthefanie Paulino (88) points rank eighth and ninth in scoring for a balanced offensive attack. Souza also ranks second in the Best Spiker category with 40.6 percent of spikes converted to points, while Ana Beatriz Correa is seventh in Best Blocker with 0.64 blocks per set. Thais Saraiva is ranked fifth in Best Digger with 4.12 digs per set.

Brazil, competing in their 16th FIVB Women’s Junior World Championship, is one of only two countries to have competed in all previous editions. Brazil has reached the podium the most times at the FIVB Women’s Junior World Championship with 10 medals in 15 previous events and are already assured of collecting an 11th medal in the 16 editions.

Brazil has won six of the past 15 FIVB Women’s Junior World Championships, including four straight editions to begin the new century (2001, 2003, 2005, 2007). Overall, Brazil has reached the podium in six consecutive FIVB Women’s Junior World Championships.

While Brazil’s Junior National Team finished the last edition with a bronze medal, the players competing at this year’s edition captured the gold medal at the 2009 FIVB Girls’ Youth (Under 18) World Championship. The current group of players have yet to lose a match to other youth or junior level competition.

Italy, in its 11th appearance in the tournament, have guaranteed  themselves to reach the podium for only the second time in the event’s history. The Italians earned the silver medal in 1997, but will be looking for their first gold in 2011.

After losing to Brazil in four sets to open the tournament in the first round, Italy has won five consecutive matches. The side won Pool E with victories over Peru, United States and Dominican Republic to gain the group’s top seed into the gold semifinal. Italy overcame the first round loss to defeat Cuba and Serbia to advance to the top eight second round.

Italy’s Valentina Diouf ranks second in scoring during the tournament with 131 points, while converting 40.5 percent of her spikes for points for third-best in Best Spiker. Caterina Bosetti is 11th in scoring with 84 points and is ranked first in Best Spiker with a 40.9 conversion rate and third in best receiver with a 37.3 efficiency. Guilia Pisani averages 0.88 blocks per set for fifth place among all players. Letizia Camera is fifth among the Best Setter category. Carolina Zardo is fourth in Best Libero and third in Best Digger with 4.2 per set.

Italy did not compete in the event in 2009 after a fifth-place finish in 2007. The Italians reached the semifinals in 2005, but were relegated to fourth place.

Italy finished eighth in the 2009 FIVB Girls’ Youth World Championship with seven athletes competing in this year’s FIVB Women’s Junior World Championship event.

Along with Brazil, China is competing in their 16th FIVB Women’s Junior World Championship. China holds nine medals during the event’s history, including the gold medal in 1995. A victory on Sunday against the United States would be the country’s 10th medal in the 16th edition of the biennial event.

China won its first round Pool D with a 3-0 record that included wins over Russia, Japan and Dominican Republic. In the second round, China opened with victories over Slovakia and Belgium before losing to Brazil in a match among undefeated teams.

Zhou Yang has been a steady influence for China with101 total points scored in the tournament for sixth-best among all players. She has converted 38.6 percent of her spikes for points for fifth-best in the Best Spiker category, along with providing a 1.04 block average for second in Best Blocker. Yanchi Pi ranks 13th in scoring with 77 points. Li Lin ranks fourth in Best Digger with 4.17 per set, while Di Yao is rated the Best Setter with 7.22 running sets average.

After four straight podium finishes from 2001 to 2007, China was absent from the medal chase in 2009 with a 10th-place finish. Before the 2009 edition, China had never finished lower than fifth place.

At the younger 2009 FIVB Girls’ Youth World Championship, China finished a disappointing 13th place with players competing in this year’s FIVB Women’s Junior World Championship.

United States
The United States, in its seventh appearance in the tournament, has assured itself at least the best finish in program history for the FIVB Women’s Junior World Championship. The Americans finished fourth at the 2007 event, but are in search of their first-ever medal in 2011.

The United States captured Pool C with a 3-0 record with victories over Belgium, Korea and Poland. The Americans earned a second-round opening victory over Dominican Republic, but then lost to Italy and host Peru in consecutive matches to finish Pool E. Although the United States, Peru and Dominican Republic all finished with 1-2 records in Pool E, the Americans earned four pool points to Dominican Republic’s three and Peru’s two.

Haley Eckerman has scored 113 points for the Americans to rank third in scoring, while teammate Kelly Reeves has scored 97 points for seveth place. Eckerman has converted 38.1 percent of her spikes for sixth in Best Spiker. Natalie Hagglund ranks atop the Best Libero category with a 58.2 percent success rate while ranking second in Best Digger with a 5.26 average.

The United States hosted China in five friendly scrimmages this month in California immediately prior to flying to Peru to play in the FIVB Volleyball Women’s Junior World Championship Peru 2011.

The Americans finished 12th at the younger FIVB Girls’ Youth World Championship held in 2009 with five players that have moved up to this year’s FIVB Women’s Junior World Championship team.

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