FIVB - Volleyball World League

Press release

Russia begin week two with win over Italy


Russia's win on Friday improved their World Grand Prix record against Italy to 11 wins in 13 matches

Ekaterinburg, Russia, August 9, 2013 – Following their worst start ever in the World Grand Prix hosts Russia showed they were in fighting form on Friday taking their first Pool J match of the weekend against Italy 3-1 (25-13, 18-25, 25-18, 26-24).

World champions Russia won only one of their first three 2013 World Grand Prix matches last weekend - going down to USA and Brazil in Brazil - while Italy started their World Grand Prix campaign last week with three wins, a feat they previously achieved in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2011 however, Russia started the match as favourites against a young Italian side considering they won the last match between the two teams at last year's Olympic Games and their impressive World Grand Prix record against world No. 4 Italy, which had seen Russia, who are ranked sixth in the world, win 10 of the previous 12 encounters between the two sides - although Italy had won two of the last three including their last encounter in 2007.

Although both teams started strongly in the first set of the match, Russia’s Natalia Gonchrova helped her side move ahead quickly with an initial three point lead (6-3), widening the gap by five points soon after at 8-3. After the first technical timeout the Russian team continued to put pressure on Italy taking an eight point lead at 16-8 thanks to the continued impressive spiking from Gonchrova. Italian coach Marco Mencarelli took his first timeout with the score at 17-8, but once back on the court Russia continued to dominate the game taking the first set 25-13, a record low set score for Italy against Russia.

Italy regrouped enough to maintain a five-point advantage at 7-2 in the second set. Russia coach Yuriy Marichev called for a timeout when the scores were at 8-3. But once the teams got back into the game, Italy’s Indre Sorokaite, made her mark with her spiking winning crucial points. Even following Marichev’s double substitution, Italy were able to widen their lead to 20-14 before an ace from Carolina del Costagrande and several blocks saw Italy claim the second set 25-18.

The third set started better for Russia on account of Goncharova’s spiking and blocking. And with teammates Irina Zaryazhko and Tatiana Kosheleva working together effectively on their attacking, Russia took the third set of the match 25-18.

The Italian team moved into top gear in the fourth set but Russia met the challenge, with both teams trading points up to the second technical timeout. After this time, however, Russian gained a four point lead at 18-14 and from then on Kosheleva’s serving, Anastasia Shlyakhovaya’s blocking and Goncharova’s spiking came together to help Russia win a difficult fourth and final set of the match with a score of 26-24.

Natalia Gonchrova top scored for Russia with 22 points closely followed by Tatiana Kosheleva , who recorded 21. Indre Sorokaite was Italy's standout with 20 points.

The win moved Russia to six points with two wins and two defeats while Italy remained on nine with three wins and a loss.

Russia now get set to play Thailand on Saturday while Italy will take on Cuba in their second match match of the weekend at the Divs Uralohka Hall in Ekaterinburg.

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