Juantorena and Giannelli secure Italy's fourth straight victory to stay in contention for top spot in Pool A


Florence, Italy, September 16, 2018 – It was probably not too hard to predict the winner of the matchup between Italy and the Dominican Republic. The hosts eventually added a fourth victory in a row to their record in Pool A to fight with Slovenia for the top spot on Tuesday. Osmany Juantorena scored 17 points, including four aces as Giannelli orchestrated Italy’s game very well and Ivan Zaytsev helped the team with another 12 points. Italy had a stunning 62% positive reception and registered as many as 11 aces in three sets as they beat the Dominicans 3-0 (25-12, 25-18, 25-15).

The Dominican Republic tried to put up a fight with 12 points by Henry Antonio Lopez and 8 by Henry Tapia who played a couple of sets only.

At the beginning of the first set, the Dominican Republic fought hardly not to lose contact with Italy and succeeded in doing so up to 4-4. A couple of blocks opened the first gap for Italy, and Juantorena pushed Italy further ahead with three aces from 13-8 to 19-8. Gabriele Nelli and Gabriele Maruotti substituted Simone Anzani and Juantorena in the back row and they showed good skills. Filippo Lanza and Zaytsev with a couple of block-outs and Daniele Mazzone with a fast attack gave Italy the victory in the first set after a real team effort and eight mistakes by the opponent.

In the second set, again the Dominican Republic tried to resist as long as possible to the Italian pressure. They succeeded in doing so up to the score of 9-9 when an amazing defence by libero Massimo Colaci was the sparkle for three Italian points in a row. The fans could witness some great defence actions from the Caribbean team too and these combined with too many mistakes by the Italian team produced an unexpected 17-16 lead for the Dominican Republic. Italy woke up and a seven-point run on Mazzone’s service up to 23-17 changed the course of the set, which ended with a spectacular pipe by Lanza and a Dominican mistake.

Italy started the third set at a high rhythm. The very young Dominican substitute setter Adalberto Gonzalez Perez, who turned 19 only a few days ago, tried to keep his teammates in contention, but Zaytsev scored the 9-4 with a terrific ace measured at 132 km/h.  Little by little, the gap became too big for the Caribbean team. Italy ran away up to 19-9 with blocks and back row hits. Luigi Randazzo stepped in for Juantorena (there was a standing ovation when he left the court) and Giannelli scored with a second touch attack for 22-13. Mazzone and Randazzo eventually closed the game with an ace and powerful spike, respectively.