FIVB U21 Championships
- June 23-July 2, 2017
- Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic
Italy 3, Egypt 0 (26-24, 25-20, 25-17)
USA 3, Czech Republic 2 (25-23, 24-26, 21-25, 25-18, 15-7)
Italy cruised past Egypt, while the Americans found their first win of the U21 Championships in a five-set thriller against the Czech Republic in Group G action on Wednesday.
Italy 3, Egypt 0
The Italians won all facets of the game in a sweep of Egypt on Wednesday. Italy tallied nine more kills (48-39), three more blocks (9-6) and committed three less errors (15-12) in the victory. Both teams served up four aces.
“Yes, we won but it was a bad match,” Italian coach Michele Totire said. “We played slow, I am happy with the win but it was difficult. There are many differences between these two teams and that influenced our mental preparation.”
Both teams served well in the first set, but Italy used a stronger attack late to grab a 26-24 win. Italy held off a late Egyptian attack in a 25-20 Set 2 victory, and then cruised to a 25-17 Set 3 win to close out the match.
“We played the first and second set well,” Egyptian captain Abdelrahman Seoudy said. “We have a lack of sleep and that affected our play.”
Yuri Romano led the Italian effort with 14 points, all on kills, while Gabriele Di Martino added 11 points, with seven kills, two blocks and two aces. Paolo Zonca and Gianluca Galassi chipped in nine points apiece. Galassi put up a team-best three blocks.
Omar Aly paced Egypt with 15 points, including 14 kills. Mohamed Aly added nine points, with six kills, two blocks and an ace, while Seoudy added eight points, with five kills, two blocks and an ace.
USA 3, Czech Republic 2
Team USA finally picked up its first win of the U21 Championships, edging past the Czech Republic in five sets.
“I give a lot of credit to the Czech team and it was unfortunate that one of their outside hitters went down with an ankle roll earlier, you have to give that kid a lot of credit for still playing and fighting,” USA coach Jay Hosack said. “I am more happy for the guys than I am for myself, we found our pace. We are facing good teams so it is not getting any easier but I am happy we won.”
The Americans used their block to wrap up a 25-23 Set 1 win after the teams tied at 23. Set 2 saw the Czech service game come alive and the injured Donovan Dzavoronok excel in a 26-24 victory. The Czech’s and Dzavoronok carried the momentum into Set 3, winning 25-21. The USA evened the match with a 25-18 Set 4 victory and cut down miscues in the tie-breaker for the win.
“We played great in the first three sets but we became tired and started to lose,” Czech captain Kristian Cervinka said. “We made some big mistakes.”
The Americans downed 64 kills in the match and added 11 blocks in the victory. The Czech Republic won the service game 6-4, while also registering 55 kills and nine blocks.
“That win was a great win for us. We found some reassurance in our play,” American captain Joshua Tuaninga said. “Credit to Czech Republic, they fought. It was a great battle.”
Kyle Ensing led all scorers with 21 points, including 20 putaways. Scott Stadick (17), Jordan Ewert (14) and George Huhmann (11) followed. Stadick put up a team-best six blocks, while Ewert added 13 kills and a block.
Matej Smidl (17), Lukas Vasina (14), Dzavoronok (12) and Vladimir Mikulenka (10) each tallied double-digit scoring efforts for the Czechs. Smidl managed 16 kills, while Vasina added 14. Dzavoronok chipped in eight kills, two aces and two blocks. Mikulenka also tallied eight kills.