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Italy finish weekend unbeaten in Bydgoszcz

Italy celebrates as they take top spot in Bydgoszcz
Bydgoszcz, Poland, August 7, 2011 – European champions Italy needed a little more than two hours to see off hosts Poland 3-1 (25-12, 21-25, 26-24, 25-14) in their final match of the first weekend of the 2011 FIVB World Grand Prix tournament in Bydgoszcz on Sunday.

Both teams met for the first time since August 2010, when they played in the World Grand Prix finals in Ningbo, China. On that occasion Italy also won 3-1.

2011 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix
August 5-28

Italian Carolina Costagrande topped the scores with 22 points while Anita Kwiatkowska scored 14 for Poland.
Polish coach Alojzy Swiderek introduced young setter Joanna Wolosz to the starting lineup, instead of team captain Milena Radecka. But she touched the ball for the first time after a few minutes, because of great series of Italian serves. Poland made many mistakes and were down by six points and Italy went further ahead as they picked up the opening set easily.

Poland started the second set serving aggressively and diving with passion in defense. They had a three point advantage but then lost it with bad luck as Italy brought the scores level. The hosts saw their chance when Anita Kwiatkowska, who replaced attacker Katarzyna Konieczna pushed the ball to the opposite side of the net taking an important point. But Italian star, Carolina Costagrande, who scored 13 points in one and a half sets did not allowed Poland to get too far ahead. The game was very close until the end of the set which was finished with an excellent block from Berenika Okuniewska.

The third set began with an amazing defense, following powerful spikes from both sides. Italian Valentina Arrighetti threw the ball behind the Polish block twice in a row and her team took the lead 8-7 at the first TTO. Then Kwiatkowska gave Poland a signal to wake up, scoring with cross-spike and service. Poland worked hard in reception and defense but Lucia Bosetti and Serena Ortolani scored three points in a row and Italy took the lead 17-16. The situation was tense toward the end of the frame but European champions Italy finally finished it off narrowly taking the lead 2-1.

Italy started the fourth set with a strong hit, leading 3-0 and 7-3. Two Kinga Kasprzak’s points from a back-row-attack were not enough for the home side to catch up. There was then a battle between the two opposite spikers with Ortolani being more precise than Kwiatkowska. Italy took a five-point lead at the second TTO (16-11) and enlarged it, winning 25-14.
On Monday Poland moves to onto Zielona Góra, where they will play South Korea, Cuba and Argentina. Italy travels to Almaty, Kazakhstan to take on the hosts as well as eight-time winners Brazil and Thailand.

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