Japan beat Italy in five-set comeback to win Women's U20 World Championship


Aguascalientes, Mexico, July 21, 2019 - Japan defeated Italy in a five-set comeback 3-2 (23-25, 21-25, 25-20, 25-19, 15-12) to win the title match of the twentieth FIVB Volleyball Women’s U20 World Championship in Aguascalientes, Mexico.

Japan’s formidable tournament came to an end with an undefeated mark bouncing from a two-set deficit to upset Italy’s dominant performance and claim the gold medal. 

The neck-to-neck battle lasted two hours and reached a tie-break with Japan leading in attacks 62-55 and 10-8 in aces, while Italy held a huge 16-7 blocking advantage. Japan scored on 31 opponent errors and committed 24.

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Japan’s emotional celebration winning the Gold Medal Match

Five players scored double figures in Japan’s gold medal win, led by MVP Ishikawa Mayu with 19 points on 11 kills, 3 blocks and 5 unstoppable aces, followed by Soga Haruna with 18 points including 17 kills. Nishikawa Yuki and Yamada Nichika had 12 points each, while Hirayama Shion contributed with 10 points.

Italy’s scoring force came from Yassimina Kone with 18 points on 12 kills, 3 blocks and 3 aces, Ruth Enweonwu tallied 16 points, Marina Lubian scored 15 points and Alessia Populini registered 11 points. 

Bronze Medal Match

Russia’s character and fierce attacks managed to prevail over Turkey 3-1 (25-22, 26-28, 25-19, 29-27) to finish in third place and win the bronze medal. Derya Cebecioglu of Turkey's match-high 26 points surrendered to Russia’s stronger physical presence. Russia held a 58-48 advantage in attacks and a higher 21-17 blocking margin, while scoring on 22 opponent errors against 17; both teams scored 9 points on aces.

Russians Yulia Brovkina (11, Polina Shemanova (14) Varvara Shepeleva (libero) and Valeriya Shevchuk (15) celebrate winning the bronze medal

Russia used a balanced attacking offence led by Yulia Brovkina with 21 points including 11 stuff blocks, the highest in the tournament, and by Ekaterina Pipunyrova with 20 points including 17 kills. Also contributing in Russia´s victory were Vicktoriia Pushina and Valeriya Shevchuk scoring 14 points apiece and Polina Shemanova registered 10 points. Joining Derya Cebecioglu on the losing effort was Yaprak Erkek with 16 points, Zeynep Demirel with 8 stuff blocks from her 11 points and Zeynep Uzen added 10 points. 

Fifth place 

Poland finished in fifth place after defeating Brazil in five exciting sets 3-2 (25-19, 17-25, 14-25, 25-20, 15-10). Brazil’s overwhelming 22-7 blocking margin wasn’t enough to control Poland. Zuzanna Gorecka topped Poland’s hitters with 16 points all on kills, Julia Orzol contributed with 14 points on 11 kills and 3 blocks, and finally Paulina Damaske added 11 points on 9 kills and two aces. Kisy Nascimento once again led Brazil’s scorers on a match-high of 23 points with 5 blocks included, Tainara Lemes scored 17 points and Julia Bergmann tallied 16 points. 

Julia Orzol (19) celebrates Poland’s fifth place defeating Brazil 

Seventh place

2017 Women’s U20 World Champions China finished in seventh place by defeating the United States 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 25-20) with a 47-34 attacking margin led by Wang Yizhu with 18 points including 16 kills and 2 aces, followed by Mao Junyi and Che Wenhan with 11 points each.  China led 4-2 in blocks and the United States 5-2 in service points. On the United States side, Jenna Wenaas and Skylar Fields scored 9 points apiece on 16 and 17 attacks respectively.