FIVB - Volleyball World League

Press release

Zaytsev serves up Italian victory over USA

Italy celebrate victory over USA

Florence, Italy, July 16, 2014 - Four outstanding serves from Italian star Ivan Zaytsev clinched a 3-0 (25-22, 25-21, 26-24) victory for Italy over USA in the second thrilling match of this FIVB Volleyball World League Group 1 Finals 2014.

With Italy down 24-22, Zaytsev stepped up to the service line and completed two aces which American libero Erik Shoji couldn't handle before Erik's brother Kawika couldn't keep his reception in play before another ace, much to the delight of the 5,500 fans.

Key facts:

· Italy ended their longest losing streak in World League history (6 matches). Their previous victory was against Poland on 8 June.

· For the first time since 2009, the host nation in the Final Round won their opening match without losing a set. In 2009, Serbia also defeated United States 3-0 in Belgrade.

· For United States that was also the only previous occasions they were the first opponent of the home nation in the Final Round.

· Italy have now won three World League matches without losing a set this year, equalling their total from 2013.

· The last time Italy started the Final Round with a 3-0 victory was in 2004, when they defeated Serbia and Montenegro in Rome, the last time the Final Round was held in Italy.

· United States have now lost three of their last four World League matches, with all three defeats coming without winning a set.

Italy led comfortably in the first part of the first set, thanks in particular to the spikes of Ivan Zaytsev, reaching the first technical timeout 8-4 up. The USA bridged the gap, tying Italy at 16-16, with Matt Anderson, Sean Rooney and David Lee all attacking well. But with Jiri Kovar and Simone Parodi also spiking well for Italy, they closed out the set 25-22.

In the second set, USA team could hardly keep up with Italy. The hosts remained constantly in the lead, reaching a maximum advantage of six points at 12 -6 and then eight points at 21-13. Zaytsev and Kovar remained their key scorers. They got to set point at 24-16, but took them five points to close the game at 25-21.

USA looked a little stronger in set three, getting an early lead at 7-3. Italy hit back again, tying at 8-8, but Anderson was dominant as USA moved to 16-10. But Zaytsev and Parodi led an incredible comeback, and Italy won the set 26-24 - and the match. 

Ivan Zaytsev was top scorer with 21 points for Italy, while Anderson got 17 points for USA. 

USA face Australia on Thursday  at 20:30 while Italy face Australia on Friday at the same time.

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