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Chirichella guides Italy to seventh win


ROTTERDAM, Netherlands, June 7, 2018 - Italy skipper Cristina Chirichella led by example as Davide Mazzanti's side recorded their seventh win in eight FIVB women's Nations League matches as they beat the Dominican Republic in straight sets (25-18, 25-15, 25-20) to boost their hopes of qualifying for the Final Round.  


Fresh from a brilliant five-set comeback win over the Netherlands in the Topsportcentrum on Wednesday, Italy came into the match full of confidence and they got the job done effortlessly whilst showing flashes of the brilliance that took them past the Dutch, as they picked up three vital points that lifts them up to sixth in the standings. Dominican Republic, however, were utterly outclassed and lost for the fifth VNL match in succession and the 19th time in 23 meetings with Italy.  


Italy rely on the collective rather than any individual - Paola Egonu was their VNL top scorer prior to this match with only 125 - but they have a sea of attacking riches at their disposal. The imposing figure of Chirichella was the star of the show as she gained an incredible six points from blocks and 10 spikes in a personal haul of 16. The Italians were so fluid throughout a one-sided contest with setter Ofelia Malanov and libero Monica De Gennaro setting the tempo for the likes of Chirichella, Egonu and Elena Pietrini to prosper. 


Dominican Republic came into this match on a four-game losing streak, and they never looked like troubling the Italians aside from a much improved third set. Brayelin Martinez was their top scorer with 13 points, which included two blocks, while Jineiry Martinez also assisted with two blocks before hobbling off injured in the third set.