Omaha, USA, July 25, 2015 – Valentina Diouf may be relatively new to the Italy women’s team, but she is soaking up as much of the experience possible at the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix Finals Omaha 2015.
The 22 year-old is competing at her first finals in the tournament and will take on Japan on Saturday knowing a win is crucial for Italy’s medal ambitions.
“It’s very important because we have two matches and in these two matches we can decide our ranking in the tournament,” she said. “It’s a crucial match.
“If we win these two matches we have a very good chance to get on the podium.”
The world No.5 won their first match on Friday, beating Japan to the elation of coach Marco Bonitta who said his team “have soul”. Up until that point it was a tough tournament for the side, but Diouf is still happy with the event as a whole.
“I think the tournament is well organised. We’ve had a good welcomed and the technical level of the competition is very high. The best in the world.”
Of course, with the likes of Lucia Bossetti and captain Valentina Arrighetti helping shepherd the team, the Finals have been a great learning experience for the star.
However, her history at international tournaments – including gold at the 2011 FIVB Volleyball Women’s U20 World Championship – has helped her take the whole experience in her stride.
“There are players with not many years more experience,” she added. “It’s very important for my group to have these experienced players. In the critical moment they can help you to make the right play and decision.”