Italy re-asserted its mastery over European rivals Germany, cruising in straight sets 25-16, 25-21, 25-22, and bagged their fourth win of the 2022 FIVB Volleyball Nations League, Wednesday evening at the SMART Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
Italy bagged its ninth consecutive win against Germany after they carved a similar 3-0 win in the quarterfinals of last year’s CEV Men’s European Volleyball Championship in Ostrava, Czech Republic, which the former eventually won.
The win saw the reigning European champions tie Japan and France with a 4-1 win-loss record at the top of the leaderboard.
Yuri Romano paced the charge for Italy with 13 points, 10 coming from attacks, two from aces, and one block.
Italy asserted its dominance at the net as they finished with 12 blocks and for the outside hitter, it was a welcome sight. He said, “It was important today because Germany spikes hard. So, I’m happy with our blocking.
“In our team, we work on our defense and our fundamentals. We did well and we try to improve our volleyball during these matches. And we’ll see in this VNL where we’re at now.”
Italy started on a hot streak, capitalizing on Germany’s errant passing and block coverage, to lead at 12-6 in the first technical timeout. Germany had some good kills that kept them in the game, but Italy forced them to settle for an exchange of points as the latter cruised to the win, 25-16.
During the second set, the Azzurri turned to their net defense as back-to-back blocks sent them to an 11-8 advantage, threatening to mount a 2-0 set advantage against Germany.
Errors in the service at the crucial end of the second set saw the set slip from the Germans’ hands and Italy took the frame and the commanding lead.
Germany, with some sense of urgency, cut the deficit to one, 16-17, in the third frame as they pounced on Italy’s reception and with Erik Rohrs firing two service aces. Italy, though, cleaned up its passing to eventually close the set and the match.
Setter and captain Simone Giannelli proved crucial in the win as he was able to set up Italy’s balanced offense. Middle blocker Gianluca Galassi was a force at the net with 11 points on seven spikes and four blocks, while fellow center Simone Anzani added nine markers, four coming from attacks and four coming from blocks along with a service ace.
Italy will battle Japan (4-1) in a highly crucial match on June 24 at 7 p.m.
Opposite hitter Linus Weber was the lone German in double digits with 14 points, all coming from attacks. Lukas Maase chipped in seven markers on five spikes and two blocks.
Germany, which slipped to 3-2, will take on China (1-4) on June 23 at 3 p.m.