Ningbo, China, August 29, 2010 - Italy survived an early scare to defeat Poland in four sets on Sunday in the FIVB World Grand Prix finals. The reigning World Champions Cup winners won 23-25, 25-15, 25-23, 25-17 to improve their win-loss record to 2-3 at the six-team round-robin tournament. Poland finished bottom with a 1-4 win-loss record.
FIVB World Grand Prix
Poland gave the Italians a hard time at the beginning of the first set, displaying exceptional attacks led by Agnieszka Bednarek-Kasza and Anna Baranska. At the second TTO, Poland were 16-11 up, but a service ace and several heavy spikes allowed the Italians to equalize 21-21. The Poles stayed cool and eventually took the set 25-23 on a spike by captain Katarzyna Skowronska-Dolata.
Italy staged a fine comeback in the second set as Antonella Del Core and Serena Ortolani managed to find a gap in the Polish defence. Despite some exceptional spikes by Poland, the Italian team won the second set comfortably, 25-15.
The third set was a see-saw battle highlighted by long rallies of back-court attacks. Neither team could break away throughout the set. When the scores were level at 23-23, a solo block by Jenny Barazza (Italy) handed Italy the set point, and Giulia Rondon then finished off the set with a service ace.
Poland went off to a flying start to the fourth set, leading 6-1 and 12-5. But just as the match looked set for a five-setter, the Italians rallied to erase the deficit and equalize at 15-15 before Lucia Bosetti earned three straight points as Italy went 23-16 ahead with an 8-1 run. Simona Gioli then scored the last two points for Italy with double powerful spikes.