Ismailia, Egypt, September 14, 2019 - USA won their first ever gold medal of a Girls' U18 World Championship, outplaying Italy in the final of this year's edition for an epic 3-2 (25-17, 19-25, 25-18, 22-25, 15-10) win.
The Americans had previously missed two chances at claiming the world crown, when they lost in the 2013 and 2015 finals for back-to-back silver medals.
USA's Emily Londot tries to break through the Italy block of Beatrice Gardini and Emma Graziani in the final of the 2019 FIVB Girls' U18 World Championship in Ismailia.
Italy were missing their star opposite Giorgia Frosini, who had had a brilliant tournament throughout, but got injured just at the very end of the fourth set in the semifinal against China the previous evening.
And although they started where they left off last night, with Gaia Guiducci setting, Sofia Monza had to come back on as a starter in the third, helping Italy pull one back to level at 1-1.
But USA came came back strong in the third, opening with a 5-0 run and retaining a four-point lead at the second technical timeout. Italy closed in to within two on back-to-back aces by Alessia Bolzonetti, but the Americans carried on for Jessica Mruzik to send the ball off the block and out of bounds for set point.
USA opened up a four-point lead by 20-16 in the fourth, but Italy gnawed their way back in catching up at 21-21 and going ahead for the first time at 22-23. They went on to get the next two points as well, when Elena Oglivie hit wide and substitute Beatrice Gardini stuffed Emily Londot to force the tie-break.
USA's Devyn Robinson reaches high to try and beat the block of Italy's Oghosasere Omoruyi in the final of the 2019 FIVB Girls' U18 World Championship in Ismailia.
Italy shot off to a 5-1 lead in the tie-break but it was USA's turn to rally back, reducing the decifit to just one at side-switch, opening up to two with a block by Kennedi Orr on Bolzonetti.
Two Italian attacking errors, long by Linda Nwakalor and on the antenna by Monza, plus a block by Devyn Robinson on Ajack Malual saw USA reach match point with five to spare. Italy did pull one back, but Malual failed to connect with Monza, setting off the Americans' wild celebrations.
USA celebrate in a huddle right after the last point in final of the 2019 FIVB Girls' U18 World Championship in Ismailia.
Londot was top scorer of the game on 19 points, Bolzonetti following with 17.
Quick links - Volleyball:
FIVB Volleyball Girls' U18 World Championship