Italy wins home qualifier to get the right to defend their world title
The “Azzurrine” mentored by Davide Mazzanti did so by scoring their third consecutive win at the home tournament in Cividale del Friuli as they edged Slovakia in three straight sets (25-17, 26-24, and 28-26).
Though they had already secured their ticket to Brno and Prostejov after winning the first set, the home heroines showed the right focus and determination also in the next two to complete their run with a straight-set win.
Though he was debuting at the helm of the group, Mazzanti was very happy with his experience: “I am very proud of my girls. It has been an amazing experience for me and I enjoyed every single second of it. I just can’t wait for the World Championship to come” he said. Miriam Fatime Sylla top scored for Italy with 18 points while team captain Elena Perinelli added 13 to the count of the “Azzurrine”. Andrea Strbova paced Slovakia with 11.
Although they were already out of contention for that much desired ticket to the Worlds Spain and Finland battled for more than two hours and Spain eventually had the upper hand at the tie-break (16-25, 25-17, 25-21, 15-25, and 15-12).
Jessica Rivero and Amelia Portero paced the Spaniards in their winning effort with 21 points each while Sonja Laitinen top scored for Finland with 20. The game starring Spain and Finland was somehow special in its own since two female referees – Marie-Catherine Boulanger of Belgium and Portugal’s Raquel Portela – were assisted by a group of all female line judges. This shows that the efforts so far made by Europe’s Volleyball family to support and encourage the role of female referees and line judges in international Volleyball are getting the desired results.