Italy closed out the Manila leg of the 2022 FIVB Volleyball Nations League by making a swift work of China, 25-21, 25-18, 25-19, for its second straight win, Sunday evening at the SMART Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
It is Italy’s 16th win against China in head-to-head meetings and the result put Italy on a 6-2 win-loss record heading into the final week of pool round matches.
Outside hitter Daniele Lavia paced the Italians with 22 points on 16 attacks, three blocks, and three aces, in the one-hour and eight-minute match.
China and Italy figured in a dogfight at the start of the set with the Asians getting ahead early. A late rally from the reigning European champions anchored by the back-to-back points from middle blocker Simone Anzini eventually put the set at 25-21.
Italy had to fashion out another comeback in the second set with wing spikers Guilio Pinali and Lavia heating up. After a close fight at the start, the Azzurri wrapped up the frame for a commanding 2-0 advantage.
Flexing their muscles, the European champions exploded in that third and final set, despite some runs from China. Pinali then put on the finishing touches for Italy with back-to-back hits.
Captain Simone Gianelli was proud of their performance in their Quezon City leg, ending with this statement win against China. He said, “It was a great atmosphere; it was a great arena. We are happy because we won two matches of four. I am proud of my team and it’s time to focus on the next games.”
Pinali, who started in lieu of Yuri Romano for this match, added 15 markers, including the last two points of the match, on 12 attacks, two service aces, and a block. Young outside hitter Alessandro Michieletto finished some crucial rallies with nine points on eight attacks and a service ace.
Italy will take on Bulgaria when they resume their pool round campaign in Gdansk, Poland, on July 5 at 5 p.m.
Zhang Guanhua and Zhang Jingyin both finished with 11 markers for China. Zhang Guanhua finished with 10 attacks and one block, while Zhang Jingyin chipped in 11 spikes.
China, which slipped to 2-5, will take the Netherlands in the same venue on July 6 also at 5 p.m.