Paolo Egonu was Italy's top scorer against Canada
Sapporo, Japan, September 30, 2018 – Paola Egonu was the top scorer again as Italy outplayed Canada 3-0 (25-15, 25-15, 25-18) on the second day of the FIVB Women’s World Championship at Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center on Sunday.
Italy are now 2-0 in the competition, while Canada dropped to 0-2. It was the first time the two teams had met in a world-level competition. The last time Canada beat European team in the World Championship was in 1978.
Despite Italy coach Davide Mazzanti saying that Egonu hadn’t reached peak performance yet, Italy’s No. 18 still had an impressive game, thundering down spikes and serving hard. She was supported by Lucia Bosetti with 14 points and Anna Danesi with 12, including four excellent blocks. Alexa Gray showed great power to lead Canada with 14 points.
Italy scored seven blocking points to Canada’s one and had four aces.
Egonu started to punish Canada from the start and a crosscourt spike gave Italy an 8-4 lead at the first technical timeout. With the score at 10-5, Canada coach Marcello Abbondanza called a timeout but his team struggled to hold back the tide of Italian attacks, which was coming from all angles. Lucia Bosetti was also scoring freely and Miryam Sylla continued on from her good work in Italy’s win over Bulgaria on Saturday. Canada may have reduced their errors from the 12 in Saturday’s first set against Turkey, but they weren’t helped by a leaky defence as Italy’s big hitters continued to rain down spikes. Kiera Van Ryk slapped a serve into the net to end the set.
Alexa Gray showed her power as Canada edged Italy in the early stages of the second set, spiking with venom from the left, but from 4-4 Italy turned the screws, with a great block by Bosetti and a neat pushover at the net from Ofelia Malinov that made the score 8-5 at the first TTO. The match resumed its usual pattern after that. Canada’s big hitters couldn’t find their mark and once again an error – this time by Autumn Bailey – ended the set.
To their credit, Canada stuck to their task and tried to put pressure on Italy with some battling defence. They gained some reward early in the third set, holding the Italians to 7-7 before a shot by Egonu gave Italy a one-point lead at the first TTO. Italy powered their way to a 10-7 lead but Canada roared back and a sharp smack by Gray levelled the scores at 10-10. Italy pulled ahead again; Canada levelled again (14-14). Fighting for points was certainly not Canada’s problem; their players crashed into almost every advertising hoarding around the court in their quest to rescue balls and coach Abbondanza was certainly animated during the breaks. But Italy always had an extra gear they could change up to and Canada struggled to compete at that level, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. Canada’s Anna Danesi brought up matchpoint with a slick tipover, but Gray fired back two big spikes before Egonu unleashed a final rocket to end the match.