Osaka, Japan, October 7, 2018 - Italy left the crowd gasping at Osaka Municipal Central Gymnasium on Sunday afternoon as they demolished Azerbaijan 3-0 with a dynamic display of controlled, high-paced volleyball. The Italians were much too hot to handle and won 25-12, 25-19, 25-10 to extend their win-loss record to a perfect 6-0, the same as defending world champions USA. Azerbaijan slipped to 2-4.
Miryam Sylla (17 points) and captain Cristina Chirichella (13 with five blocks) led the scoring charts and Paola Egonu added 11. For Azerbaijan, captain Odina Aliyeva scored seven.
The Italians were on fire from the start, their blocking rejecting attack after attack and opening up an 11-3 lead to send Azerbaijan into a TO. Cristina Chirichella led by example on spike and block and Miryam Sylla and Lucia Bosetti both added crisp winners.
It was too easy for Italy and, when Anna Danesi forced over two quick winners at the net behind the serving of Chirichella, the Italians were well out in front 16-6 at the second TTO.
Natalya Mammadova lifted Azerbaijan's spirits with a fierce winner from the left and captain Odina Aliyeva won a net tussle, but the jump serving of Paola Egonu disrupted the Azerbaijan reception and led Italy to the first set 25-12.
The first set had been too quick for Azerbaijan but they showed signs of adjusting to the pace of their opponents in the second set with Mammadova, an ace from Olena Hasanova and Ayshan Abdulazimova all raising their spirits.
Wing spiker Sylla was in no mood to take her foot off the gas, however, and she blocked and spiked furiously to keep the points flowing for Italy. When Sylla was given a rest, Egonu took over the attack and Danesi's block sent Azerbaijan into a TO down 20-15. Italy saw out the set 25-19 for 2-0.
Azerbaijan were in trouble from the start of the third set, calling a TO trailing 6-0 and not putting their first point on the board until 10-1.
Captain Chirichella smashed Italy into the second TTO ahead 16-3 and Bosetti continued the blue bombardment as Italy closed out the match 25-10.