Italy is taking home USD80,000 after winning first place in the 2017 Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) World Grand Prix Macau.
The Italian team bested China, USA and Turkey during the three-day event and Italy now ranks first place in Pool E1 after accruing a total of eight points.
Two players from the team, number 18 Paola Egonu and number 5, Ofelia Malinov, were awarded Best Opposite and MVP respectively.
Commenting on the win, coach Mazzanti Davide told the Times that they are looking forward to being included in the final six.
“This win is important for us as we [aim] to be in the final six. We played very well in this round and we’re very proud of the team,” he said.
As Italy’s team is also packed with younger players with an average age of 24, Mazzante hinted that this competition is also a part of their training as its team members would be competing for Tokyo 2020.
Asked which opponent he thought was the strongest, the coach simply said, “There are many teams [including] China, USA, Serbia and Brazil.”
The team is off to Bangkok where they will compete with Turkey, Dominican Republic and Thailand.
According to him, the team is currently in a good position to be included in the final six.
Meawhile, Macao Forum was packed yesterday by supporters of China, who were competing against USA.
After losing to USA last week, China beat USA with a final score of 3-2 yesterday.
Zhu Ting, who scored 19 points, commented, “we attacked well today and our blocking has significantly improved compared to last week’s match in Kunshan,” said Zhu Ting, who was awarded the ‘My Galaxy Star Player Award’.
China is set to play in the Hong Kong leg of the tournament this week and will compete against Serbia, Russia and Japan.
China’s coach An Jiajie, who spoke to the press yesterday, said that the competition against USA was an experience that they could learn from as they were challenged with a ‘fast and high-point game.’
He reiterated that their attack and defense have improved and added that they would still have to work on the team’s defense.
“We’ve improved a little bit but what’s worrying us is Zhu’s reception of the ball,” said An.
China, who came in second place, was followed by USA then Turkey.
Meanwhile the USA team was not present during yesterday’s awarding ceremony, as they needed to catch a flight to Brazil last night.
Two of its team players, including Carli Lloyd, were awarded Best Setter and Best Outside Spiker.