Nataliya Goncharova celebrates with fans after leading Russia to a 3-2 win over Italy
Bari, Italy, June 19, 2016 – Russia raced back from a one-set deficit to beat Italy in a thrilling five-setter 3-2 (19-25, 25-15, 25-22, 22-25, 15-10) in Bari on Sunday. The win means that Russians will leave Italy with a perfect 3-0 record in Pool F. Italy have lost both of their matches this weekend, but still have a chance to snatch a home win when they take on Thailand on Monday morning.
Both teams were eager to win valuble points in the race for the Final Six to be held from 6 to 10 July in Bangkok, Thailand. Nataliya Goncharova was today's best scorer with 24 points, while on the other side of the net Nadia Centoni, who turns 35 on Sunday, led her team with with 21 points.
The Azzurre started out well with a 8-4 lead at the first technical time-out. 82% positive reception against 43% on the Russian side, together with impressive 7 points from Centoni allowed the hosts to win the opener, 25-19.
The second set saw the Russians regroup and stop the Italians in attack with five kill blocks. The home side's attacking game fell to just 32% resulting in a quick Russian win, 25-15.
In the third set, the score remained tight up until the finish, when an inspired Kosheleva led her team to a 25-22 win, scoring 7 points in the set.
Italy made two substitutions (Guiggi and Ortolani out, Danesi and Sylla in) and the risk paid off as a 6-point streak initiated by Sylla allowed the hosts to turn things around in the set and keep their hopes alive by taking the set 25-22.
Russia did not seem impacted by the missed opportunity in the fourth set, as they quickly took control of the tiebreak. They managed a 3-point lead at 10-7 and did not allow Italy back into the game finishing the deciding set at 15-10.