MOSCOW, June 22 (R-Sport) – Russia took a confident step toward the FIVB volleyball World League Finals on Saturday, beating Pool B leaders Italy by three sets to two.
Russia, the Olympic champions, pulled out a 25-22, 25-23, 26-28, 23-25, 15-12 win at the Energetik arena in the Siberian city of Surgut.
The result means the Italians remain top of the pool with 15 points, with second-placed Russia closing in on 13 points. Serbia is third with nine points, but has one game in hand.
After losing Friday’s clash with the Italians by three sets to one, Russia started assuredly, taking first two sets and going 24-19 up in the third. But they were unable to kill off their opponents, wasting seven match points. Italy stormed back to send the match into the decider, where the hosts pulled themselves together and Alexei Spiridonov capped the win with a powerful spike.
Nikolay Pavlov led Russia with 26 points, while Ivan Zaytsev, whose parents are Russian, top scored for Italy with 25 points.
Both teams have four more games at the group stage, with two top qualifying for the World League Finals in the Argentinian city of Mar del Plata on July 17-21.