2018 FIVB Men’s Volleyball Nations League – Week 5, Pool 20
- June 22-24, 2018
- Pala Panini; Modena, Italy
- Time Zone: UTC + 2 (Eastern Time +6)
- World Rankings: No. 2 USA, No. 4 Russia, No. 4 Italy, No. 9 France
|Date||Time||Score||Set 1||Set 2||Set 3||Set 4||Set 5||Total||Report|
|22 Jun||17:30||United States||2–3||France||21–25||25–23||28–26||20–25||12–15||106–114||P2 Report|
|22 Jun||20:50||Italy||0–3||Russia||21–25||22–25||20–25||63–75||P2 Report|
|23 Jun||17:30||United States||0–3||Russia||23–25||15–25||22–25||60–75|
|24 Jun||20:30||Italy||0–3||United States||23–25||17–25||27–29||67–79|
United States def. Italy 3-0
- United States def. Italy 25-23, 25-17, 29-27
- United States moved to 11-4 (33 points); Italy moved to 8-7 (24 points)
It was far from a clean game, but the United States got three points with a sweep of Italy in its VNL finale to claim third place in the standings through the preliminary round.
The Americans committed 30 errors in the match, but more than made up for them by besting Italy in kills (46-32), blocks (13-3) and aces (5-2).
Four players notched double-digit scoring efforts for Team USA led by Matt Anderson‘s 19 points (15 kills, 2 blocks, 2 aces). TJ DeFalco (15), Max Holt (11) and David Smith (10) rounded out the group. Kyle Ensing added seven points and setter Micah Christenson rounded out the scoring with a pair of blocks. DeFalco downed 13 kills and added two aces, while Smith led the way at the net with four stuffs, followed by Holt’s three and two each from Ensing and Christenson. Holt also added an ace to the team’s tally.
Although Italy had been mathematically eliminated from the Final Six race earlier in the day, head coach Blengini Gianlorenzo opted to play his starters anyway. Ivan Zaytsev was the top scorer with 12 points, all on kills. Filippo Lanza added six putaways and Simone Parodi, Simone Anzani and Luigi Randazzo chipped in four apiece. Parodi, Anzani and Davide Candellaro each put up a block and Daniele Mazzone and Michele Barnowicz added an ace apiece. Gabriele Nelli and Gabriele Maruotti did not play.
The Americans struck early, going up 8-4 and leading by as many as seven in the opening stanza. Italy was within two at 21-19. Facing set point at 24-23, Parodi served just long, giving the United States the 25-23 win.
Italy got the home crowd into the match, vaulting ahead 8-5 and later 13-10 in Set 3. Service errors piled up for the USA with six players missing the court. The Italians were the first to 20 points, but soon found their lead erased and the score tied at 22. DeFalco gave the Americans their first match-point try. Anderson pounded down an overpass on the fourth attempt to finally seal the 29-27 victory.
Team USA will now begin to prepare to for the VNL Final Six which begins July 4 in Lille, France. The Americans will be in Pool B alongside Russia and Poland.
The Italians end VNL play at 8-7 in eighth place. The team will now look to regroup ahead of the World Championships in September, where the Italy is one of two host nations alongside Bulgaria.