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Sorokaite to inspire Italy in VNL’s World Championship final rematch with Serbia

Indre Sorokaite will try to help Italy in their World Championship final rematch with Serbia at the 2019 VNL
Lausanne, Switzerland, May 30, 2019 – Italy’s top scorer Indre Sorokaite will inspire her team when they play Serbia on their home court in Conegliano at 20.00 local time on Thursday in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League. Their VNL encounter will be a rematch of the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship final.

Paola Egonu’s presence in this World Championship rematch remains to be determined after playing only one match in the 2019 VNL, but Sorokaite’s upbeat performance gave Italy a 4-0 start before losing to the United States on Wednesday. Sorokaite is Italy’s most prolific scorer with a total of 94 points in five matches.

“This is a long competition wherein it is essential not to fall after defeats and not to get excited after victories,” Italy captain Cristina Chirichella said. “We have another very tough challenge against Serbia.”

At the World Championship final, Serbia won in five sets after having been 1-0 and 2-1 down in sets. Italy are looking to bounce back and beat their rivals Serbia to avenge that five-set loss in Japan.

Serbia have the advantage so far against Italy in terms of victories, as the Balkan state have won six of their last eight matches against the latter at world level tournaments, including their last two encounters. However, Italy can look back on their performance at the 2018 VNL, where they prevailed against the Serbians in the tiebreaker.

The rivalry between these two squads is as intense as ever with a lot of players stepping up on their game until their top stars Egonu and Tijana Boskovic rejoin the team later in the tournament.

“We need the time to find the right balance on the court,” Italy player Miriam Sylla said. “We have the skills and the time to grow.”

Serbia have a total of three wins and two losses at the 2019 VNL. They beat the Dominican Republic on Wednesday, ending a longest losing streak of two matches at the VNL.

“It will be very difficult against Italy because they are a very strong team with players who played in the World Championship last year,” Serbia player Mina Popovic said. “We have to organise our game as best as we can. The winner is whoever plays best.”

The United States are going for a sweep of the first two pools when they face the Dominican Republic at 17.00 in Conegliano. Coach Karch Kiraly has been fielding in a great combination of players in the last five outings and the players have been equally productive. Andrea Drews lead Team USA with a total of 64 markers, while the tournament’s second top scorer Brayelin Elizabeth Martinez spearhead the Domincan Republic offence with 97 points.

In Ankara, Japan will be led by their best player Yuki Ishii in their match against Germany at 14.30 local time. In the other match in Pool 6, Ebrar Karakurt or Meryem Boz are strong candidates to command the offence of Turkey in their encounter with Russia at 17.30.

Belgium and Thailand will open Thursday’s order of play at 16.30 local time in Macau, followed by the match of East Asian rivals China and Korea at 19.30, while Pool 8 action in Apeldoorn will feature matches between Poland and the Netherlands at 16.30 local time, and Brazil and Bulgaria at 19.30.

Polish opposite Malwina Smarzek has been smashing the scoring charts with a total of 149 points in five matches – 52 points more than the output of the second best scorer. She has been consistently scoring in double-digits, including the record number of 41 points against Bulgaria last Tuesday.

All VNL matches will be available live and on-demand on Volleyball TV.

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