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Argentine blocking trying to stop Caterina Bosetti spike

Hiroshima, Japan, November 8, 2011 - After an impressive three wins in the first round, Italy kept rolling with a relatively easy (25-19, 25-10, 25-19) win against Argentina at the Hiroshima Sun Plaza on Tuesday. Italy had a fairly balanced attack on the day as Simona Gioli collected 14 points while Carolina del Pilar Costagrande and 17-year-old Caterina Bosetti, playing her first full game for the national team with older sister Lucia, posted 10 apiece. For Argentina, who had never beaten Italy in four previous matches, Florencia Natasha Busquets notched seven points.

Both teams started the first set with a flurry or errors, but Italy’s Costagrande, who was actually born in Argentina but became an Italian citizen 10 years ago, drove a pair of spikes home to put her side up by one at the first TTO. That was the first of a run of seven points that gave Italy a 13-7 lead. Italy’s Sara Anzarello and Costagrande, the tournament’s leading points scorer prior to the start of the day, were attacking well, as was Gioli who had a pair of line drives from out wide to put her side way up 21-12. Argentina bounced back well taking seven of the next nine including Emilce Sosa’s second ace of the set. But there was too much Gioli down the stretch as she posted six in the period to help Italy take it 25-19.

Everything was going right for Italy in the second. Captain Eleonora Lo Bianco was blocked at the net only to have the ball drop behind her as she faced the net and with both arms extended straight behind her, she kept it alive for an Italy score, helping her side up 8-2. Anzanello then joined the magic act tipping over a Lo Bianco set as it was rising, fooling the Argentina defence to make it 15-5. Gioli once again played the role of finisher with a trio of attacks late to take the set 25-10 with ease.

The third set was a little closer at the start with the teams tied at 9-9 early, but then Italy broke loose on a six point run capped by surprisingly good defense by the diminutive Lo Bianco on Nizetich. First she put a block on Nizetich to score, and then forced her to spike long on the following point. She would go on to give Italy match point with a clever tip at the net, and from there Caterina Bosetti, the Most Impressive Player of the match, closed it out with the last of her 10 points.

Press Conference, Italy v Argentina : Italy took their fourth win in as many games against the Argentinians to open round two. They will face Algeria next, and are looking forward to a difficult third round after that.

Italy coach Massimo Barbolini : Today I’m happy that we have won against a good team, and I think we have played with good intensity as was our intention. It was important to win with three points without losing a set. In such a balanced tournament it will be important for the final ranking. Now we have to think about the next match, and then the third round which will be very hard for us.

On chances of finishing in top three : I think our chances remain the same; I think there are six or seven teams that can arrive in the top three - and Italy is one of them. Each match will be hard. South Korea has lost to Germany and Serbia, and now is playing Brazil. Korea will be our first opponent, and that will be hard. After that there’s Brazil, then Serbia. The third round will be very tough.

On Caterina Bosetti : I think that she has played a good match, though a normal match for someone who wants to play on this team. I am satisfied, but I’m sure she will do even better in the matches to come.

Carolina del Pilar Costagrande on facing Argentina, the country of her birth: I became an Italian citizen about 10 years ago, having been born in Argentina. One of the reasons for doing so was that I wanted to play in the Italian domestic league. After that I was lucky to make the national team, and I’m proud of that. I look forward to being a member of the Olympic team as well.

Argentina captain Emilce Sosa : This was a really difficult match for us. We played Italy before, and this is another experience that we’d like to take as a lesson for the future of our team.

On China tomorrow: I’ve not seen video of China yet, but like Japan they’re a strong team; a fast team. It will be a good experience to play them.

Coach Bastit Horaci : First I’d like to congratulate Italy. We expected a tough match today because they are one of the best teams and are headed for the Olympics. We had good rallies in the match, but we lost most of them. However, I hope we can do our best tomorrow.

On China tomorrow: We played South Korea, Thailand, and Japan before, and this is the first game with China. I watched and studied them before, and the only thing we can do is to play our combinations; quick combinations, and do our best.

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