Russia's setter Pavel Pankov was a key element in the victory
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, August 30, 2015 – A slick performance by Russia brought them the victory against Italy 3-0 (25-20, 25-18, 27-25) in the 2015 Men's U23 World Championship's second semifinal at Al Nasr Hall in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on Sunday.
Now Russia will battle it out against turkey in the final of the competition on Monday, while Italy line up against Cuba for the bronze medal in a repeat of their first round matches.
Opposite spiker Alexander Kimerov was the most productive of the Russian players in double figures as he managed 17 points, followed by Sergei Nikitin 13 and Igor Kiluka 12. For Italy, Gabriele Nelli finished with 12 points in the losing efforts.
The North Europeans had a 8-3 advantage in blocks, 5-4 in aces and 46-29 in spiking success to mark the historic victory.
Russia took the lead 3-1 after a group of spike services before the used the opposite spiker Alexander Kimerov to spike from position 2 making a leap of 8-5 at the first TTO. Russia blocked well against the Italian attacks in their way to widen the point difference to 16-10. With Kimerov spike Russia led 18-13. Italy's coach called a timeout at 23-17, but his team failed to come back as Russia won the set 25-20.
Italy started the second set in a different strategy through the combinations led by setter Luca Spirito to help his team to have 4-2 lead forcing the Russian coach to call a timeout at 4-2. He succeeded to advise blacking adjustment, beside using the pressure by service so Russia made a great turn over 8-6 at the 1st TTO. Italy's big gun Gabriele Nelli started to work in spiking and serving to keep the score at 14-12 for Russia. Again with the Italian unforced errors, Russia came ahead 18-14 and widen the score to 20-16 forcing the Italian coach again to call a timeout. Russia blocked all the ways in front of the Italians to win the set 25-18.
Russia maintained their pressure through the service and block and used the efficient spikes of Sergei Mikitin to leap forwards to 8-5 lead in the third set. Italy fought to gain the lead for the first time 24-12 with the potent attacks of Tiziano Mazzone. Russia quickly rebounded with the match getting more and more exciting to regain the lead 16-15 at the 2nd TTO. The Italian players became nervous with more motivations accomplished for the Russians so they advanced 21-18, before Nelli and Mazzone narrowed the deficit to 21-20. Italy saved three match points before Russia went to a thrilling 27-25 win with a fantastic block to win the match 3-0.