Aguascalientes, Mexico, July 20, 2019 - Italy will clash with Japan in the title match of the twentieth edition of the FIVB Volleyball Women’s U20 World Championship after winning thrilling five-set semifinals against Turkey and Russia respectively in Aguascalientes, Mexico.
Both Japan and Italy advanced to the title match winning five-set thriller semifinals, where undefeated Japan overcame Russia 3-2 (18-25, 26-24, 25-13, 18-25, 15-12) and Italy bounced back from a two-set deficit to dominate Turkey 3-2 (19-25, 24-26, 25-21, 25-16, 18-16).
Sunday’s medal matches: (all local-time)
17:30 Bronze Medal Russia vs Turkey
20:00 Gold Medal Japan vs Italy
Asian champions Japan recovered from losing the first set and went on to a five-set semifinal victory 3-2 (18-25, 26-24, 25-13, 18-25, 15-12) over Russia to reach the title match undefeated. Japan’s offence with a 66-58 attacking margin was crucial to overcome Russia’s stronger blocking margin 14-9 as well as 5-3 advantage in service points. Japan committed only two points less in unforced errors 22-24.
Soga Haruna led Japan’s offence with a match-high of 20 points on 15 kills and 5 blocks in the nail-biting victory. Four more players contributed with double figures in the winning effort including Nishikawa Yuki (15), Yamada Nichika (14), Ishikawa Mayu (12) and Hirayama Shion (11). Russia’s top scorer Yulia Brovkina with 19 points including 4 blocks, was joined by Valeriya Shevchuk with 17 points including 4 blocks, Ekaterina Pipunyrova (14) and Viktoriia Pushina (12), including five blocks.
Japan’s Soga Haruna (6) celebrates scoring a point against Russia
Italy’s heart-stopping victory bouncing back from a two-set deficit to beat Turkey 3-2 (19-25, 24-26, 25-21, 25-16, 18-16) kept the spectators cheering up to the end for both sides. Turkey needed four set points (24-14) to seal the first set and two more to take the 2-0 lead. Italy’s team persevered in sets three and four with character, while the tie-breaker victory came from Turkey missing two set points (14-12) from Alessia Populini’s kills and dramatic finish.
Italy's 55-44 attacking margin was enough to outduel Turkey’s 17-11 blocking advantage and 11-9 service point margin as well. Italy committed fewer errors (32-36) than Turkey. Yassimina Kone led Italy’s attackers with 18 points including 5 powerful blocks and 3 unstoppable aces, joined by Marina Lubian with 16 points including 5 aces, Ruth Enweonwu added 14 points and Alessia Polulini scored 11 points. Turkey’s leading scorers were Drya Cebecioglu with 19 points including 4 blocks and 2 aces, Yaprak Erkek scored 18 points including 14 kills and 2 aces, while Zeynep Uzen and Meve Atlier contributed with 13 and 12 points respectively.
Italian players celebrate defeating Turkey in five sets in the semifinals of the WU20 World Championship
In classification matches, Brazil defeated the United States 3-1 (25-15, 14-25, 25-9, 25-15) and Poland won against China in exhausting five sets 3-2 (27-25, 25-15, 23-25, 14-25, 15-12). Brazil and Poland will play for fifth place, while United States meet China for seventh.
Poland's libero Monika Jagla celebrates their victory to China
The United States levelled the sets (1-1) but surrendered to Kisy Nascimento’s impressive 26 points from 21 kills. Brazil held a 46-32 attacking margin, 6-3 service advantage and scored on 25 opponent errors against 16. Tainara Lemes contributed in Brazil’s victory with 11 points, while Logan Eggleston and Kendall Kipp scored 15 and 12 points respectively for the losing side.
Brazil’s triple block Kisy Nascimento (9), Daniela Seibt (7) and Tainara Lemes (10) holds off the United States
China responded harder after a two-set deficit in Poland’s tie-break win. The Europeans led in attacks 65-62 and in blocks 14-11. Five players led Poland´s offence with double-figures, including Zuzanna Gorecka (20), Paulina Damaske (18), Julia Orzol (18), Klaudia Laskowska (12) and Weronika Centka (11). China also had double-digit hitters, Wand Yizhu (21), Che Wenhan (19), Xu Luyao (14) y Mao Junyi (12).