Daniele Lavia on fire as Italy bounce back and sweep USA

Daniele Lavia on fire as Italy bounce back and sweep USA
Fecha de publicación: 
7 June 2024
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Italy provided a strong answer to their first defeat in the Volleyball Nations League 2024 as less than 24 hours after falling to Olympic champions France in Ottawa, Canada, the world champions swept the United States at the TD Place on Thursday.

  • Watch Volleyball Nations League 2024 live on VBTV

The 3-0 (25-25, 26-24, 25-20) victory gave the Europeans 10.31 FIVB World Ranking points, which served two major purposes for them, pushing Italy one step closer to the Paris Olympics and moving them up to second place in the Rankings with 364.77 points, surpassing the Americans, who went down to 349.71.

Outside hitter Daniele Lavia carried the Italian offense against the Americans, producing a match-high 15 points, with 12 kills and three aces. Fellow outside hitter Alessandro Michieletto and middle blocker Gianluca Galassi, who registered three blocks, came next with ten points apiece.

“We just tried to remain focused and play one point at a time,” Galassi reacted. “I feel that we’re very good at focusing on the next point regardless of what happened on the last one and today it was extremely important. We’re working to qualify for the Olympics and also preparing for it and results like this give us the confidence to get to Paris in a good form.”

The Americans, who this week in Ottawa are using the roster selected by head coach John Speraw to compete at the Olympics in 50 days, had outside hitter Torey Defalco and middle blocker Max Holt as their leading scorers with eight points each.

“We had opportunities to close the first two sets and we didn’t take them, that was the difference,” Holt reflected. “They’re a world-class team and we knew they were going to bring everything they had today. We have to learn from it and we know we’re probably going to see that team in a very important match in the near future.”

With five victories in six matches (15 points), the Italians are in second place in the VNL standings and continue on the path to securing a spot in the VNL Finals. The USA are far behind in 13th place with six points (two wins, four losses) and will need to do better in their six remaining Preliminary Phase matches to qualify.

Volleyball Nations League 2024: schedule and results

Both teams will be back on the court in Ottawa on Friday, with the Europeans facing Cuba at 11:00 local time (15:00 GMT) and the Americans playing Serbia at 20:00 local time (00:00 GMT, Saturday). Also on Friday, France and the Netherlands will clash at 16:30 local time (20:30 GMT).

Nimir scores 38 points against Cuba

The first match of the day in Ottawa saw arguably the greatest individual performance of the VNL 2024 so far, with star opposite Nimir Abdel-Aziz leading the Netherlands to a 3-1 (26-24, 21-25, 25-20, 25-22) win over Cuba with impressive 38 points, falling just five short of his own record.

The Dutch captain had 30 kills, five aces and three blocks and produced as many points as his seven teammates who also made it to the box score combined. The team’s second-best scorer was outside hitter Marteen Van Garderen, who tallied 15 points. Outside hitter Marlon Yant, with 16 points, and opposite Michael Sánchez (who celebrated his 38th birthday on the court), with 14, were Cuba’s main scorers.

“The victory showed we can play at this level,” Nimir said. “I felt that yesterday (against Serbia) we started very tense and only got to relax in the third set. Today we started more relaxed and that’s how we should play. Perhaps we’re not the best team, but when we play together and fight, we can make things difficult for anyone. This is what I think we should take from this match.”

Nimir Abdel-Aziz the Netherlands Cuba Volleyball Nations League 2024-min

Nimir goes up to score one of his 38 points againt Cuba

The 9.66 World Ranking points earned kept the Dutch alive in the race to qualify for the Paris Games as they are still the second team below the qualification line with 222.71, but managed to reduce the gap to both Serbia (247.59), the last team inside the zone, and Cuba (242.53), the first ones looking from the outside.

A third and last match will be held in Ottawa on Thursday, with hosts Canada meeting Argentina at 20:00 local time (00:00 GMT, Friday).

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