Kevin Tillie gets the ball past the Italian block as he leads France to a decisive 3-1 win in the penultimate day of pool play at the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League.
Brasilia, Brazil, June 29, 2019 - Kevin Tillie kept France going amidst a range of substitutions, leading the 2018 silver medallists to a decisive 3-1 (27-25, 25-19, 21-25, 25-20) win over Italy Saturday in Brasilia, on the penultimate day of pool play at the 2019 FIVB Men's Volleyball Nations League.
The win sees France advance to a 10-4 record, on par with Poland, and secure fifth place in the standings, with one day of action remaining to wrap up pool play. Italy dropped out of reach at 8-6.
Italy were first to reach set point in the opening set, but a service error from Oreste Cavuto brough the score level at 24-24. One French set point was cancelled by Daniele Mazzone, before back-to-back kills by Stephen Boyer closed the set at 27-25.
After a quick and easy second set, France coach Laurent Tillie pulled out Boyer and Kevin Le Roux replacing them with Jean Patry and Daryl Bultor respectively and also changed Jenia Grebennikov for Nicolas Rossard on libero duties, while Cavuto started for Oleg Antonov on the other side.
The changes allowed Italy to minimise their unforced errors of the previous sets and break away after 13-14 with a 1-6 run to make it 14-20 and go on to take the set and extend the match - although France had closed in to within two at 20-22.
A change of setters in the fourth, with Antoine Brizard coming on for Benjamin Toniutti, and Thibault Rossard replacing Yacine Louati on the outside allowed France to regain control, take a narrow early lead and gradually widen it for a comfortable finish.
Tillie and Barthelemy Chinenyeze were the only two players of France to play the whole game. Tillie emerged the winners' best scorer with 15 points, but Patry, despite only coming on in the third set, was close behind on 12. Giulio Pinali scored a match-high 17 for Italy.
But in the end, it was Italy's total 36 unforced errors (to France's 28) that made the difference.
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