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Italy eye continued development

Italy's young team will have benefitted from the experience of the World Grand Prix

Sapporo, Japan, August 30, 2013 – World No. 4 Italy have hopes for continued improvement with an eye to the FIVB World Championship 2014 on home soil on the back of their fifth place performance in the 2013 World Grand Prix.

Missing a host of key players from the squad including former captain Eleanora Lo Bianco, Francesca Piccinini and Simona Gioli, the young Italian team lost three matches in a row in the World Grand Prix Finals against Japan, China and Brazil. However, new coach Marco Mencarelli believed it was a good learning experience for the young players.


“I am satisfied with our overall performance except the third set today,” he said following the 25-16, 26-24, 25-11 loss against Olympic champions Brazil. “We knew that facing Brazil would be our most difficult match but we hoped it wouldn’t be so difficult. In the first and second sets we grew but in the third set we didn’t have any response for them.”


Most of the players taking part in the World Grand Prix Finals will travel to Germany & Switzerland for the European Championships, where the Azzurri are aiming to finish with a medal.


“There might be one change, but the most players will remain and our goal is to try to claim a medal,” Mencarelli said. 


“It will be very difficult. Our team is very young and there are four or five very strong teams, namely Serbia, Russia, Bulgaria and Germany. It’s very difficult, but we’ll try.”


Italy captain Martina Guiggi said the European Championships were also going to be big challenge for the team once the tournament starts in Germany and Switzerland on September 6.


“For sure we know there will be difficult moments because we are a very young team and we changed a lot,” she said. “We are here to try to grow up.


“The European championships will be very close to this tournament and we have to get prepared physically and mentally. We will try to do our best and we hope to arrive at the European championship in the best condition and to be stronger.”


The women’s volleyball World Championships will be held in Italy next year and the Italian coach and captain believe their team will be stronger then.


“We hope we’ll have good performance and reach the semifinals,” said Mencarelli.


“In some moments, we showed very high level volleyball. Sometimes, we need consistency,” Guiggi said. “We will try to build on the things we did well and try to grow. Maybe after one year we can be stronger, but it takes time.”

Guiggi is confident that the young team under the new coach will have a great future.

“For sure, we know our players have a lot of power," she said. "We have to do our best now to make the first step towards next year’s World Championships. Maybe some older players can return to the national team later, or there might be some changes. I don’t know, but I think this team has great potential. We just have to work hard.” 


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