After a stellar showing at the 2018 World Championship that earned this team a silver, Italy will enter 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League as a formidable squad capable of achieving anything.
Italy’s women’s team stepped into the international volleyball spotlight with that World Championship silver and the hope is to keep up the pace not just in this tournament, but all the way to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
2018 FIVB VNL record & stats
Win/loss: 10 / 5
Sets win/loss/ratio: 34 / 22 / 1.545
Points win/loss/ratio: 1230 / 1136 / 1.083
Final position: 7th
What’s new for Italy in FIVB VNL 2019?
Likely returning for Italy is its crop of talented and energetic young players molded by the unique experience of going deep & taking silver in the World Championship.
That valuable experience at such a competitive and high-stakes tournament is the most important development for this team as it heads into FIVB VNL 2019 and subsequent Olympic qualifiers.
Italy world ranking: 8 (October 2018)
Italy FIVB VNL 2019 match schedule
May 21 at 1:30 PM CT – Poland v Italy
May 22 at 10:30 AM CT – Thailand v Italy
May 23 at 10:30 AM CT – Italy v Germany
May 28 at 1 PM CT – Italy v Dominican Republic
May 29 at 1 PM CT – USA v Italy
May 30 at 1 PM CT – Serbia v Italy
June 4 at 4:30 AM CT – Netherlands v Italy
June 5 at 4:30 AM CT – Italy v Japan
June 6 at 7:30 AM CT – China v Italy
June 11 at 1 PM CT – Italy v Bulgaria
June 12 at 1 PM CT – Italy v Korea
June 13 at 1 PM CT – Italy v Russia
June 18 at 8 AM CT – Brazil v Italy
June 19 at 11 AM CT – Italy v Turkey
June 20 at 8 AM CT – Belgium v Italy
Italy games to watch out for in FIVB VNL 2019
By comparison to how well Italy would go onto perform in the 2018 World Championships it performed poorly in the preceding VNL.
With a 10-5 record, Italy didn't progress from the preliminary round and had heavy defeats to Turkey, USA & Russia that it will surely look to revenge with interest. Also look out for rematches with Japan and Poland, both of whom delivered closely fought & surprising wins over Italy in 2018.
Italy preliminary roster
Head coach: Davide Mazzanti
Setters: Carlotta Cambi, Francesca Bosio, Ofelia Malinov, Alessia Orro, Rachelle Morello
Liberos: Monica De Gennaro, Beatrice Parrocchiale, Chiara De Portoli
Middle Blockers: Cristina Chirichella, Sara Alberti, Raphaela Folie, Anna Danesi, Sarah Luisa Fahr, Alexandra Botezat, Agnese Cecconello, Beatrice Molinaro, Beatrice Berti
Wing Spikers (Outside & Opposite Hitters): Indre Sorokaite, Caterina Bosetti, Anastasia Guerra, Elena Pietrini, Sylvia Chinelo Nwakalor, Lucia Bosetti, Miriam Fatime Sylla, Paola Engonu, Anna Nicoletti, Francesca Villani, Josephine Obossa, Elena Perinelli, Terry Enweonwu
Average age: 23.2 (12th oldest)
Average height: 185.3cm (6th tallest)
Italy players to watch in FIVB VNL 2019: Paola Egonu, Miriam Sylla, Monica De Gennaro, Lucia Bosetti, Ofelia Malinov
Italy’s top player and rising star is opposite hitter Paola Egonu. She’s just 20 years old but has already become one of Italy’s go-to options. She’s got the 2016 Rio Olympics experience under her belt and in the 2018 World Championship was named as one of the Best Opposite Hitters.
Another wing spiker is 24-year-old Miriam Sylla, who won Best Outside Spiker at the World Championship. Sylla and Egonu complement each other as they provide solid power on the wings for Italy.
Perhaps Sylla’s key weakness, however, is her passing and reception – something other teams have taken note of and have used against her. Veterans Monica De Gennaro, a libero, and Lucia Bosetti, an outside hitter, are solid engines for Italy. Their reliable core skills such as passing hugely help stabilize Italy on the court.
Young setter Ofelia Malinov, who’s only 23, is also one to watch. She earned the Best Setter plum at the World Championship and is clearly still a long way away from her peak form.
The bottom line: Can Italy mirror its World Championship performance?
Italy came in at seventh place at last year’s FIVB VNL. So it was not surprising for onlookers to write it off for the World Championship later in the year.
Clearly it underperformed in the 2018 Nation's League but whether this was a well planned strategy or early season jitters remains to be seen. FIVB VNL 2019 will probably be seen as an acid test for Italy to prove it can stay on top or become even better.
Theoretically, the team should be on a high entering this tournament following that huge accomplishment so they should be alright.
What is a realistic FIVB VNL projection for the Italy women’s team?
Expectations are understandably higher for Italy after its promising World Championship showing, so a podium finish is certainly within reason for this team.
Anything outside of that would not be a good look for Italy.
How to watch Italy in FIVB VNL 2019
Watch the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League in its entirety LIVE on FloVolleyball.