Italy players, with coaching staff in the backgroud, erupt in joy as they complete a full comeback to knock out China and make the final of the 2019 FIVB Girls' U18 World Championship in Ismailia.
Ismailia, Egypt, September 13, 2019 - In the mother of all comebacks, Italy rallied from two sets down to upset China 3-2 (22-25, 19-25, 25-19, 25-19, 15-10) here Friday night in the semifinals of the 2018 FIVB Girls' U18 World Championship for a ticket to Saturday's final.
Italy meet USA in the final, after the Americans' sweeping win over Brazil earlier here. China have still to drop a single set in seven matches so far in the competition and remain the only undefeated team.
• Final on Saturday:
USA v Italy
• Bronze medal match on Saturday:
Brazil v China
Italy libero receives against China in the semifinals of the 2019 FIVB Girls' U18 World Championship in Ismailia.
China's serving proved to much for Italy's reception to handle, producing seven aces in the first two sets (though only four more in the next three).
A change of setters early on in the game, with Gaia Guiducci coming on for Sofia Monza, failed produce an immediate effect, but coach Marco Mencarelli stuck with his decision and it paid off, as Italy reacted in the the third to keep the game going.
It was the first set that China dropped since the start of the competition, eight days ago and it was interesting to see how the Asian powerhouse would react to that.
And it wasn't good.
Although China were again ahead by two at the first technical timeout of the fourth set, Italy responded with a 5-0 run to go ahead 11-8 and never looked back, as their blockers got going to force a tie-break.
Even an injury of Giorgia Frosini in the very last point of the fourth set proved no obstacle. Frosini, Italy's second-best scorer at that point, sprained her ankle after coming in contact under the net with Wu Mengjie.
Beatrice Gardini came on to start in the fifth and with Italy trailing 4-6 served two direct aces in a 4-0 run to bring the European side ahead by two at side switch. Italy sided-out until 12-10, and then Oghosasere Omoruyi stepped up to serve an ace and widen the gap to three. Linda Nwakalor took the next point with a monster block on Zhuang Yushan and Gardini finished it all off with an unstoppable crosscourt hit from the left.
China's Zhuang Yushan hits past the block of Italy's Linda Nwakalor and Giorgia Frosini in the semifinals of the 2019 FIVB Girls' U18 World Championship in Ismailia.
Omoruyi scored a joint match high 19 points for Italy, on par with China's Wu.
Six hands on the block as Xia Sijia and Wu Mengjie block Italy's Sofia Monza in the semifinals of the 2019 FIVB Girls' U18 World Championship in Ismailia.
Quick links - Volleyball:
FIVB Volleyball Girls' U18 World Championship