Nanjing, China, August 5, 2017 – Paola Egonu once again stepped up for Italy in their 3-1 (18-25, 25-23, 25-22, 27-25) win over hosts China in the second semifinal of the 2017 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix Finals at the Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre on Saturday.
Egonu built her 26 points from 25 attacks and a block, outscoring her rival Zhu Ting, who top scored for China with 21 points. The Bosetti sisters – Caterina and Lucia – combined for six of Italy’s 13 total blocks.
Italy will make their third World Grand Prix finals appearance and will look to improve on their two second place finishes in 2004 and 2005. This will also be the third time that they will be pitted against Brazil in the finals.
China dictated the tempo as Yuan Xinyue and Gong Xiangyu led on offence in the opening set win at 25-18. The second set took an unexpected turn when Zhu suffered an injury that sent her to the bench. Italy took advantage of the setback and took the second and third sets. Zhu led China in crucial moments in the fourth set but her two missed hits in the extended set favoured the Italians to end set and match at 27-25.
Italy captain Cristina Chirichella: We are happy about the result of this high-level match against China. It means a lot for Italy to advance to the final. I am proud of our team. We never gave up in difficult situations.
Italy coach Davide Mazzanti: This was an unbelievable match. We are glad that we had the chance to play against China. I am proud to advance to play the final tomorrow. It is such an amazing opportunity for Italy.
China coach An Jiajie: We made many mistakes, which proves that we are not mentally tough. As the head coach, I should learn from the lessons in this match to help my players stay calm in difficult situations.
China captain Zhu Ting: I want to congratulate Italy because they played very well. On the other hand, we did not play our best in this match.
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