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Brazil over Italy in battle for the podium

 
Omaha, USA, July 26, 2015 – Brazil out-lasted Italy 25-18, 25-27, 30-28, 25-18 Sunday evening on the final day of the FIVB World Grand Prix Finals being held in Omaha, Nebraska, USA.

Juciely Cristina Barreto sparked Brazil with 21 points and Ana Carolina Da Silva chipped in 17 points. Valentina Diouf led Italy with 21 points and teammate Caterina Bosetti charted 18 points coming on the bench. Italy out-blocked Brazil 18-13, but 24 Italian errors were too much to overcome.

Both teams entered the match with hopes of getting silver or least making the podium at the end of the day. With the victory Brazil have secured at least the bronze but could move up a step to silver depending on the tournament’s final match between Russia (2-2) and Japan (0-4) later tonight. Brazil have won either gold (2008, 2009, 2013, 2014) or silver (2010-2012) in the previous seven editions and have not missed the medal stand since 2007.

The opening set stayed close until Brazil broke a 10-all tie with a 4-0 run that was capped by a Juciely block at 14-10. Italy inched back to within two at 18-16, but a 4-0 run that included a Monique ace placed Brazil firmly in control at 23-17. The South Americans finished off the set at 25-18 on an Italy attack error.

In the second set, neither team had a three-point cushion until Brazil went up 18-15. However, Diouf narrowed the gap to 18-17 and a Brazil attack error went wide to level the score at 20-all. Caterina Bosetti served an ace to push the Italians in front 21-20. The teams traded side outs until Chirichella scored the final point at 27-25.

Brazil led the third set 16-11 at the second technical timeout, but allowed the lead to slip away as Italy gained the lead back on an Arrighetti block at 21-20. Juciely gave Brazil a set point at 24-23, but the lead switched back to Italy on a Chirichella attack at 26-25. Brazil went back in front 28-27 on an attack error, then won the set 30-28 on consecutive Italian errors.

Brazil opened up a 19-13 lead in the fourth set with a 4-0 run that included a Gabi ace. Brazil cruised into the victory at 25-18.

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