Italy has opened the 2016 Women’s Olympic Volleyball quailifers in Tokyo with a 3-1 (25-17, 25-20, 25-27, 25-18) win over an error-prone Korean side.
Italy showed the depth in their team runs well on to the bench, with a very even performance across the match.
The opening set was as once sided as the 25-17 scoreline reflected. Korea started slowly, struggling with the serve receive and losing the opening three points, from which the teamn could not recover.
By the end of the first set coach Lee JungChul had replaced a receiver and his starting setter, but with an error count of 10-2 his team were in trouble.
Korea rallied early in the second set, sneaking out to a 12-8 lead, but from there it quickly spiraled out of control. Led by the dominance of Serena Ortolani, the Italians asserted control, winning 11 of the next 15 points to move to 19-15 and demoralizing their Korean opponents.
Korea’s error count of 18 to seven was proving costly.
At 19-15 in the third set, Italy looked to have the match in their keeping, especially with Cristina Chirichella proving almost impassable at the net.
But Korean captain Kim Yeon-Koung was finding her range, and helped her team claw back to 20-20, before holding their nerve to take the third set 27-25.
The Italians were not to make the same mistake again, and despite trailing early in the fourth 6-9, the power game of substitutes Miriam Fatime and Paola Ogechi proved too hot for the Koreans to handle, with the Europeans taking the final set 25-18, and the match 27-17, 25-20, 25-27, 25-18.
Korea’s Kim Yeon-Koung was the game’s high scorer with 26, but her team often struggled to provide her with good ball