Italy edged Romania and reigning champions United States won a five-setter thriller to Turkey in Monday’s quarterfinal matches progressing to the semifinals at the 2021 FIVB Girls’ U18 World Championship in Durango, Mexico.
Italy and United States matchup in semifinals
The final four teams reach the semis undefeated
Published 05:18, 28 Sep 2021
The semifinal between Italy and the United States is a rematch of the 2019 Girls’ U18 gold medal match won by the Americans in exciting five-sets. Russia and Serbia will clash in the first semifinal; the European champion Russia swept Poland and Serbia was challenged by Italy in a four set battle in their road to the four final. Both semifinals will take place at FENADU venue on Tuesday.
Italy kept Romania under siege to keep their unbeaten record (6-0). Romania had several highs during the match, including blocking rising star Julia Ituma early in the third set, bouncing the ball to hit the sealing and crashing a lamp which forced the match to be suspended for a brief moment.
The Italian players attacking edged Romania with impressive 42-27 and a sizeable 18 points against only 2 in serves. Italy also held a five-one advantage in blocking, but Romania finished with less unforced errors (10-16).
Once again outside hitter Julia Ituma ended as the leading scorer with 21 points, on 18 kills and 3 aces, joined by outside hitter and captain Dominika Giuliana with 15 points on 11 kills and 4 aces; opposite hitter Giulia Viscioni produced 13 points, including a match-high of aces of 6.
Opposite hitter Denisa Stefania Cheluta collected 11 points (9 kills, one block and one ace) to top Romania’s attackers.
Dominika Giuliana, outside hitter and captain of Italy commented it was a team effort, “the team is made of 12 players not of six, so our coach had the opportunity to use different line-ups in preparation for different situations in what is left of the tournament. It feels great to remain undefeated; we are improving day by day. We will do our best in tomorrow’s semifinals”.
Reigning champion USA remains undefeated after overcoming Turkey in a nail-biting five-set quarterfinal victory in a blocking party, with United States leading by only one point (19-18). Turkey led by a one-point difference in attacks (49-48) and both teams scored on five service points. Errors were also really close, the U.S. with 31 and Turkey finished with 34.
Outside hitter Mckenna Wucherer with 16 points, led the Americans who scored double-figures, outside hitter Devin Kahahawai (14), outside hitter Chloe Chicoine (13) and middle blocker Rebekah Allick with the most blocks, 7 from her 12 points.
Also on Turkey’s side, four players topped the charts, with outside hitter Melisa Buken leading with 17 points, followed by outside hitter Iklimya Demir Fatma with 15 points all on kills, opposite hitter Beren Yesilirmak added 13 points and middle blocker Buse Ozden Berka contributed with 11 points.
Jamie Morrison, Head coach of United States said his team has grown with every performance and todays victory was thanks to outside hitter Chloe Chicoine, “Chloe, our substitute that came in made the difference, she showed up to beat a team like Turkey, taking smart swings and being a good volleyball player”.