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Tiebreaker Times

2022 VNL Season

VNL: Italy makes swift work of Slovenia in rematch of European championship

Italy reasserted its mastery over rival Slovenia with a sweep, 25-19, 25-16, 25-21, to take a bounce-back win in the 2022 FIVB Volleyball Nations League, Saturday evening at the SMART Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

The win put Italy in third place – ahead of Japan (which is also at 5-2) on match points, 16-15, heading into their last match of the pool on Sunday.

Italy and Slovenia last faced each other in the gold medal match of the 2021 CEV European Championships. There, the former needed to complete a come-from-behind conquest in an epic five-setter, 22-25, 25-20, 20-25, 25-20, 15-11, to take their seventh title.

Alessandro Michieletto bounced back with a 15-point output on 12 attacks – including the match-winning kill – two blocks, and a service ace.

“We want to win today,” the 20-year-old said of what the team talked about after that sorry loss against Japan. “So, we played better today. We served very well and we received better than yesterday. Yesterday, Japan’s serves were high-level, but today we played better and the win came easily.”

VNL-2022-Italy-vs.-Slovenia-Simone-Gianelli-2180-1 VNL: Italy makes swift work of Slovenia in rematch of European championship 2022 VNL Season News Volleyball  - philippine sports news

Italy started on the right foot and raced into an early 12-7 lead capitalizing on Slovenia’s errant passing with attacks in transition. That huge advantage eventually set the European champions into the opening-set win at 25-19 over their runners-up.

Slovenia coughed up 11 errors in just the first frame.

Daniele Lavia continued to pace the Italian side in the second set, drilling in three kills in a 5-1 start. The Slovenians cut the lead to one, 7-8, but the Azzurri got their act back together in defense. They pulled away afterward to build a commanding 2-0 advantage.

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Italy was so dominant in the second frame that even setter and captain Simone Giannelli had the confidence to hit a second-ball attack from the back row. Middle blocker Gianluca Galassi then punctuated the set with a no-touch service ace.

With momentum on their side, Italy just continued working well inside the court on both sides. Slovenia had their run towards the end of the set, but the lead was too much to overcome.

Italy finished off the set and match.

Lavia started it off for Italy, and he ultimately ended the match with 14 points on 12 kills and two blocks. Galassi and fellow middle hitter Simone Manzani chipped in seven points each. The former got five attacks, one block, and one service ace, while the latter added six kills and one block.

Italy will take on China (2-5) to close their Quezon City leg on Sunday, June 26, at 7:00 PM.

Outside hitters kept the Slovenians in the game. Ziga Stern finished with 12 points on 11 attacks and a block; meanwhile, Rok Mozic ended with 11 markers on 10 attacks and a block.

On the other hand, Slovenia, which slipped to 3-4, will battle Japan (5-2) earlier in the day at 3:00 PM.

All VNL Manila games stream live on GigaPlay. Download it now on Android or IOS.

2022-VNL-Manila-Gigaplay VNL: Italy makes swift work of Slovenia in rematch of European championship 2022 VNL Season News Volleyball  - philippine sports news

Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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