Yokohama, Japan, October 20, 2018 - Tijana Boskovic scored 26 points to lead Serbia to a 3-2 (21-25, 25-14, 23-25, 25-19, 15-12) win over Italy in the final of the FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championship on Saturday night.
Brankica Mihajlovic backed Boskovic with 19 points in the victory, while Stefana Veljkovic and Milena Rasic scored 10 each.
The triumph gave Serbia their first Women's World Championship.
Paola Egonu paced Italy with a match-high 33 points in the loss.
The match featured power versus power in a battle of attacking teams.
Serbia had beaten Italy 3-1 in the third round of the tournament.
Italy came out strong on attack in the opening set and put pressure on Serbia on serve.
Serbia fought back in the second set, attacking and serving well. They grabbed the lead early and carried it all the way through the set.
The third set was tight, going point by point. Serbia pulled ahead in the middle of the set and looked as if they might take it, but Italy dug in and fought back.
Serbia took back the momentum in the fourth set with solid blocking and a good attack.
The final set was a dramatic one with Serbia first leading, then Italy coming back, before Serbia took charge and made it to the finish line.
Miryam Sylla gave Italy a 7-3 lead with a wing attack in the first set. Stefana Veljkovic fired an ace as Serbia trailed 9-7. An Egonu spike moved Italy ahead 13-10. Boskovic sent a serve long and Italy was up 16-12 at the second TTO. A Rasic block saw Serbia down 18-15. Italy kept up the attacks from the wings and gained set point 24-19 when a Serb spike flew long. Italy took the set 25-21 on a spike by Sylla. Egonu scored seven points in the set.
A block by Veljkovic made it 5-5 early in the second set. Boskovic fired a service ace to give Serbia an 8-6 lead at the first TTO. An ace by Bianka Busa made it 11-7 for Serbia. The Serbs led 16-11 at the second TTO after a Boskovic spike. Serbia kept feeding the ball to Boskovic and another spike from her made it 20-12. Serbia gained set point at 24-14 when a Mihajlovic spike was blocked out. They took the set 25-14 on another Mihajlovic attack from the wing.
Egonu's spike put Italy in front 8-7 at the first TTO in the third set. Lucia Bosetti soared for a spike from the wing to put Italy up 10-9. Egonu attacked from the wing and Italy had a 16-13 lead at the second TTO. Serbia came back to level at 18-18 on a block by Maja Ognjenovic. Mihajlovic gave Serbia the lead 19-18 with a huge spike. An Egonu block tied it 21-21. Italy took a 23-22 lead on a two-handed push by Danesi. A Sylla block gave Italy set point at 24-22. Egonu leaped high to meet the ball and Italy claimed the set 25-23.
Serbia took the initiative in the fourth set, jumping out to a 6-2 lead on another Boskovic spike. Serbia led 8-2 at the first TTO on another Boskovic blast from the wing. Italy surged back to pull within 9-8 on attacks and a few Serbia mistakes. Egonu fired a spike long and Serbia was on top 16-11 at the second TTO. Boskovic scored on attack and Serbia led 20-17. A block by Ognjenovic made it 23-19. Italy botched a pass and it was set point at 24-19 for Serbia. Egonu sent a serve long and Serbia took the set 25-19.
An ace by Boskovic put Serbia up 4-3 in the fifth set. Italy pulled ahead 7-5 when Sylla's spike was blocked out. Egonu delivered another spike and Italy led 8-7 at the changeover. Serbia went ahead 9-8 when Boskovic ended a rally with huge spike. Mihajlovic made it 10-8 with a big block. Boskovic connected again and it was 12-10. Another Boskovic spike took it to 13-11. Ognjenovic took it to match point at 14-12 with a big spike and Serbia closed out the set and match 15-12.