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Passionate Italians beat Russia to top the pool

Italy's Agata Zuccarelli (photo) and Gaia Concetti celebrated every point against Russia
Porto, Portugal, July 21, 2013 - Italy’s Gaia Concetti and Agata Zuccarelli topped their pool on Friday at the FIVB Beach Volleyball U19 World Championships after a very tight 2-1 (21-16 16-21 21-19) win over Russia’s Daria Myshonkova and Valeriya Shvedova.

Both teams booked two straight wins on Thursday and the final match would bring forth the pool winner. After winning a set each, the lead in the tiebreak went back and forth until the Russians had their first match point at 14-13. After four more match points for Russia and two for Italy, Concetti decided the game with a kill block.

“This was a very important win”, Concetti said. “Because now we are first in our pool and we will have an easier draw tomorrow.”

“This was not our best match, we made more mistakes than yesterday. Yesterday we also served better. The wind was different, came from the side today.”

Italian passion

Both teams made a lot of mistakes. What probably flipped the coin was the emotions and passion the Italian girls put into their play. “Yes, we celebrate every point, that is our trademark and I think it helps us win.”

“At the end of the tiebreak we just played every point like it was the last one. If we made a mistake, the other would say no problem just go on and get the next.”

Zuccarelli played at the CEV U18 last year, where she finished 19th with a different partner. For Concetti this is her first international event.

Unexpected call

“I am very happy I got the chance to play here. I was very surprised when they called me for this tournament, I did not expect this call from the trainer. But I am very happy and try to do my best.”

Both girls play volleyball in the winter and beach during the summer. They had never played together before and had only a few weeks of practice, because Zuccarelli had to finish her exams first.

“It is a bit difficult communicating because we did not have a lot of time to play together and understand each others characteristics. But I am really relaxed with her. If I make a mistake serving, she says no problem, just go on. So I am not stressed during the match and that is very helpful.”

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