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  World Grand Prix 2005
 
 ITA / Italy - Team Composition
 
 
Team manager Sciascia Stefano
Head coach Bonitta Marco
Assistant coach PedullÓ Luciano
Doctor Ferrazza Fabrizio
Therapist / trainer Nocentini Luca
Journalist Lisi Carlo
 
  No. Name Lastname Shirt Name Birthdate Height Weight Spike Block Club
2 Natalia Vigan˛ Viagan˛ 24.11.1979 178 65 298 274 Asystel
3   Elisa Cella Cella 04.06.1982 186 72 304 286 Monte Schiavo
5 Sara Anzanello Anzanello 30.07.1980 193 78 316 298 Azerrail Baku
6   Valentina Fiorin Fiorin 09.10.1984 187 69 305 287 Foppapedretti Bergamo
7 Martina Guiggi Guiggi 01.05.1984 187 80 317 240 Igor Volley Novara
11   Serena Ortolani Ortolani 07.01.1987 187 63 320 240 Imoco Volley Conegliano
13 Cristina Vincenzi Vincenzi 14.05.1979 184 73 313 282 Bigmat
14   Eleonora Lo Bianco Lo Bianco 22.12.1979 171 67 287 273 Galatasaray Istanbul
C 15 Antonella Del Core Del Core 05.11.1980 180 70 296 279 Fakel Novyj Urengoj
16   Francesca Ferretti Ferretti 15.02.1984 180 70 296 280 Rabita Baku
L 17 Chiara Arcangeli Arcangeli 14.02.1983 167 57 278 262 Despar
 C=Captain  L=Libero
Team Profile Coach Profile
Can Italy go one place better? That is the big question many Italian fans will be asking following last year's outstanding campaign when Italy claimed their best ever finish in the World Grand Prix - a silver medal. This year the "Azurre" have their sights fixed on the next step of the podium and a gold medal, however it will be a tough ask considering their new look lineup.

Missing from the Olympic Games are captain Manuela Leggeri, spiking superstar Elisa Togut, their courageous 162cm libero Paola Cardullo and Simona Ranieri. But with Jenny Barazza, Nadia Centoni, Simona Gioli, Francesca Piccinini and Eleonora Lo Bianco still in the ranks, coach Marco Bonitta has a decent structure to build upon in what looks like a new era for Italian women's Volleyball.

Up until 2004, Italian women's Volleyball did not have fond memories of the World Grand Prix, having only competed six times with a best finish of fourth.

But following their incredible 2002 World Championship triumph things have been on the improve despite being a little inconsistent. The 2003 World Grand Prix saw the "Azurre" finish fifth, the same year they were hosts of the final round while last year brought the silver medal performance - again on home soil - and a fifth place finish at the Olympic Games.

Following their triumph at the 2002 World Championship, big things were expected from this entertaining side however it took longer than hoped for to rediscover that amazing form, a fact that was highlighted by the team ending the 2003 European Championships in Turkey in a lowly sixth position. A jump to fourth at the World Cup in Japan was considered an improvement on the road to recovery yet they still had to overcome an awkward assignment to qualify for the Athens Olympics when they finished fourth at a World Olympic Qualification tournament in Japan in May, behind Japan, Korea and Russia, in which was effectively the final Olympic ticket on offer in their third attempt at trying.

Yet the Italians, ranked fourth in the world, do have many qualities and none better than passion, drive and a sure-fire spirit which compliments this squad.

Volleyball is the most practiced women's sport in Italy and has received the backing of the national federation with over 100,000 registered players but it is only now that Italian women's Volleyball is finally seeing the hard work bear fruit.

Italy will host a preliminary round of the World Grand Prix in 2005, which will once again have many fans in Reggio Calabria returning to see more of their superstars in action.

Overall Standings for Italy
Word Grand Prix Played Total Matches played Win Lost % Wins
7 66 25 41 37.88
Marco Bonitta After an inaugural World Championship title in 2002, Italian women's Volleyball coach Marco Bonitta is still waiting to taste more success as part of his four-year plan. In 2003, the 40-year-old Bonitta turned down a mountain of overseas offers to sign a four-year extension to his two-year Italian coaching contract and after leading the Italian women's team to their best international performance at the World Championships he is looking to make further space in the trophy cabinet.

However, it has been tough for Bonitta and his charges carrying the title of world champions but after last year's World Grand Prix performance, where they collected the silver medal on their own home soil, things were looking up.

This year's competition however, doesn't promise to bring the same reward with some key players missing and Bonitta will have to be at his astute best to make sure Italy improve upon their fifth place finish at the Athens Olympics. If anyone can rise to the challenge it is him.