Overwhelmed by OP firepower and botched room management, Italy defeats perennial favorite USA to advance to semifinals

Italy defeated the United States. The Apogees’ firepower and error control proved decisive.

Italy swept the United States 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-23) in straight sets in the Women’s Volleyball Nations League (VNL) Quarterfinals of the FIVB Volleyball World Cup 2024 in Bangkok, Thailand on Sunday (June 21). The difference in firepower in the apogee was noticeable. Italy’s Paola Egonu scored a match-high 20 points and double-switch Ekaterina Antropova did her part, while USA’s aposit Andrea Drews and Jordan Thompson combined for just 11 points. Italy, who outscored the Americans 10-23 in turnovers, will continue their journey to the semifinals.

Caterina Bosetti, Sarah Farr, Alessia Oro, Miriam Scilla, Anna Danesi and Paola Egonu started for Italy. Monica De Gennaro will start at libero for the U.S., which has Lauren Carlini, Jordan Larson, Dana Letke, Andrea Drews, Avery Skinner and Haley Washington 토토사이트 in the starting lineup. Justine Wong-Orantes was the starting libero.

The Americans took a three-point lead early in the first set, 2-1, on a Skinner kill and Washington block, but Italy quickly answered with the same means: a Scilla kill and Danesi block. After Skinner served for the Americans at 6-5, Italy’s Egonu answered back with a service point at 8-8. The back-and-forth battle continued until midway through the set.

Midway through the set, Italy began to pull away. At 15-14, back-to-back points from Bosetti and Egonu opened up the gap. The Italians began to take control, reaching 20 points at 19-16 on an attack error by Letke and a double switch utilizing Carlotta Cambi and Ekaterina Antropova to seal the set. The Americans fought back intermittently, but the Italians continued to dominate, and at 24-21, a service error by Letke gave the Italians the first set.

With the match still not going their way at the start of the second set, head coach Caci Kiralli made a change, pulling Drews and bringing on Jordan Thompson. Thompson was effective on the attack and on the help block, and the U.S. took a slim lead at 6-6 on a Lettke service point over Scilla and an attack point by Thompson. But Italy, who had been steadily chasing the U.S., played tenacious defense to tie the set. At 13-14, solid defense by Egonu and Bossetti led to a blocked point by Danesi.

Italy continued to play tenacious defense to extend rallies, and as a flustered USA suffered from errors and blocked attacks, the Italians worked their way back into the lead. At 18-16, a block by Parr and a straight attack by Egonu brought Italy to within 20 points, and at 20-17, Gaia Giovannini’s tenacious defense extended the rally before Egonu’s high ball saved a precious point. The USA lost momentum at 20-22 when Letke’s impetuous direct attempt resulted in an over-the-net error. Italy sealed the second set with a right-side attack from Antropova at 24-21.

Cornered, coach Kiraly made a major change in the third set, adding Chiaka Ogbogu to Cook and Thompson in the starting lineup, but the Italians still took control and rattled the Americans. At 5-3, Skinner’s pipe attempt was blocked by Egonu to cut the lead to three points. At 7-5, a good dig by Scilla led to a counterattack by Egonu, showing the strength of her defense-and-rebound pattern.

Italy extended the gap to five points at 13-10 when Thompson’s attack error and Egonu’s diagonal slam were combined. Coach Kiraly switched Apojit back to Drews, but the Americans still lacked firepower. At 11-16, the USA’s frustration deepened as even Cook committed an attack error, before the Americans made a last-ditch effort to hold Italy to 20 points. At 17-20, Skinner’s sharp opposite-angle attack found the net, and Washington pulled to within one point with a block from Scilla. But an unfortunate attack error by Skinner on a chance to tie the match, and the Italians never allowed the score to get any closer than tied until match point, when Egonu neatly handled a high ball at 24-23 to complete the shutout victory.