Reigning Olympic champions China have extended their winning streak to four matches at the 2021 FIVB Women’s Volleyball Nations League in Rimini, Italy with a clean sweep of the host side on Monday.

China beat Italy in straight sets 25-19, 25-11, 25-19 to grab their 7th win including 4 in a row in the top-flight competition. After edging past Brazil 3-2 in Week 3, China, strengthened by the formidable players led by Zhu Ting, Gong Xiangyu and Yuan Xinyue, made a clean sweep in the following week to brush off the Netherlands 3-0, Dominican Republic 3-1 and Italy 3-0.

Left-hander attacker Li Yingying chipped in with 19 points for China, while Zhang Changning and Yuan Xinyue added 11 points apiece and Gong Xiangyu assisted with 10. Camilla Mingardi emerged as the Italy’s top scorer with 12 points, with Giulia Melli delivering 11 points.

Italy’s Marina Lubian said at the virtual Mixed Zone: “This game was obviously really difficult for us. China are a great team and also they have known each other for a long time. But I think that we were able to show good volleyball too at some points.

“We have to improve in many particulars, but still in my opinion at some moments we were able to demonstrate our skills. We were missing a little bit of everything. They had a really great serve, so we were not able to keep excellent receptions, but also their attack was great with all these different balls and combinations.”

Zhang Changning of China said: “Italy are a young team, but powerful. Today our serve and defence made us so successful. We are now a complete team, but I think we still need more practice to be even better next week.”

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