2018 FIVB Women’s Volleyball Nations League
- May 15 – July 2, 2018
Italy did all it could after a slow VNL start, but came up just short as the Netherlands and Turkey came through with victories on Wednesday to sew up the final two spots in the Final Six.
With one day remaining, the Italians ran out of points, trailing fifth place Turkey by five points (31-27) with just three left available.
Serbia, Brazil and the United States were already through to the Final Six after Tuesday’s results.
The Netherlands needed a win of any kind to secure its spot in the finals, securing its 11th victory, while Italy could only reach 10 wins. The Dutch punched their ticket to the Final Six with a win over top ranked and finals host China in four sets.
Turkey was next on deck for a shot at the finals, needing a victory of any kind to put Italy out of the running due to points. With Germany across the net in Stuttgart, the Turkish side found what it was looking for, besting the home side in four sets to move to 10-4 with 32 points.
Even with a Turkish loss on Thursday and an Italian upset over Brazil, the best Italy could do is a 10-5 record and 30 points, leaving them on the outside looking in.
Italy opted to leave its stars Paola Egonu and Lucia Bosetti home for the first two weeks of the competition as head coach Davide Mazzanti promised to rest them and use the time to gain experience for new players. He may now be questioning that decision as the team falls just short of the Finals, although it may all pay off at the World Championships in September.
With the Final Six field set with the USA, Brazil, Serbia, the Netherlands and Turkey alongside host China, seedings for the Finals pools are still to be determined.
Beyond the results that impacted the finals race, Japan edged past the Dominican Republic in five sets and the United States rebounded from its Tuesday loss to Serbia with a crushing sweep of South Korea.
Here’s a look at how the day shook out.