Italy on the top step of the podium at the 2015 FIVB Volleyball Girls U18 World Championship in Peru
Lausanne, Switzerland, December 24, 2015 - Italy put on a brilliant show in Peru to claim gold at the 2015 FIVB Volleyball Girls' U18 World Championship - a notch up from their previous best of silver, more than a decade ago.
Italy players can hardly believe they've just crushed USA in the final and are world champions.
The performance even got Prime Minister Matteo Renzi excited on Facebook:
“Bravissime le ragazze del volley che hanno vinto il mondiale under 18.Sono il futuro del movimento, punteranno alle...”
Climaxing with a 3-0 (25-20, 25-18, 25-16) win over USA in the final, Italy simply steamrolled through the tournament with eight straight wins, crushing anyone in sight and dropping just two sets on the way.
Towering Paola Egonu was the driving force behind Italy's triumph and was rewarded for her efforts by being named both MVP and Best Outside Hitter of the tournament, leading a 'Dream Team' of the volleyball stars of the future:
Dream Team, left to right: Best Opposite - Kathryn Plummer (USA); Best Setter - Alessia Orro (Italy); Best Libero - Zang Quiaqian (China); Best Middle Blocker - Zehra Gunes (Turkey); Best Middle Blocker - Jovana Kocic (Serbia); Best Outside Hitter - Li Yingying (China); MVP & Best Outside Hitter - Paola Egonu (Italy).
But this is not the end of the road for Italy...
Italy coach, Marco Mencarelli:
“We are really elated with the result we have achieved. Players did a lot of sacrifice to get here. Practically starting tomorrow the team moves to the junior class and I know they are going to do this and more.”
Final ranking of the 2015 FIVB Volleyball Girls U18 World Championship in Peru: