Max Holt (middle) provided 5 blocks and a total of 19 points for the American win
Krakow, Poland, September 7, 2014 - In a key result for their second round scenario, USA prevailed over an also qualified Italy 3-1 (25-18, 25-20, 23-25, 25-17). The American side seized Pool D third place, while Italy finished right behind them.
• USA snapped a four-match losing streak against Italy in FIVB World Championship matches that went from 1998 to 2010.
• The Americans also rebounded from their previous duel with Italy - a 3-0 loss in 2014 World League Final Round in Florence.
• Italy has already lost three games in Poland, while they had only experienced two defeats in their whole run at 2010 World Champs playing in home soil.
• USA continued their W-L succession that now is nine matches long.
Maxwell Holt was the most prolific scorer with 19 points, also with high attacking numbers and 5 stuff blocks. Wing spikers Taylor Sander and Paul Lotman supported him with 13 tallies apiece. Jiri Kovar led the way for Italy, also with 13 conquests in the losing squad.
USA found in their middle-blockers the key to unlock the first set. David Lee drilled first and then Holt joined with several points to settle the lead (16-12). Italy showed some problems to build counterattack plays and USA seized that, smashing well through Matthew Anderson and Sander. The latter delivered the final smash of the 25-18.
Things got closer in the second set, but USA managed to control the numbers and enjoyed a Sander’s spike for a 16-14 score. Ivan Zaytsev helped to tie at 16-16, but then he sprained his ankle and had to be replaced by Luca Vettori. Holt stopped the young opposite a little later to advance to 23-19, Lotman hammered the next ball and Italy crashed a serve at 25-20.
Vettori charged to bring Italy back to life, but all he could do is keep the scores tight for a while. USA slightly moved on with another block from Holt (17-15), but Italy reacted as Dragan Travica handled the counterattack for an Azzurri lead of 20-17. Kovar carried the flag to 23-20 and, after a final effort from USA, Emanuele Birarelli dug a hole on the American field for the 25-23.
Lotman unleashed an ace to enable a new American lead and a couple of failed Italian spikes created a 14-10 score. Another serve from Lotman landed in the backline to enhance (16-10) and Sander completed the quest. USA held Italy at distance towards 20-13, Lotman added another kill at 24-16 and a service mistake finished the game by 25-17.