Cagliari, Italy, September 22, 2010. After a home campaign that did feature quite many ups and downs Italy finally qualified to the 2011 FIVB World Grand Prix as the local heroines completed the round robin tournament played in Cagliari with a 3:1 victory on Russia. The Italians join Gamova & Co. as well as Germany to complete the European contingent for next yearâ€™s Grand Prix that will also include Serbia (winner of the 2010 CEV European League) and Poland (pre-qualified via a wild card). A decision of the FIVB Board of Administration did add another berth to the two that were initially at stake in Cagliari and the â€œAzzurreâ€, defending European champions, could celebrate their admission to a competition that is likely to distribute additional points for the World Ranking and hence to have an impact on the qualification process for the 2012 Olympics in London.
5. The Netherlands
MVP: Neslihan Darnel (TUR)
Best Blocker: Bahar Toksoy (TUR)
Best Libero: Enrica Merlo (ITA)
Best Scorer: Neslihan Darnel (TUR)
Best Server: Kathleen Weiss (GER)
Best Setter: Evgenya Startseva (RUS)
Best Spiker: Ekaterina Gamova (RUS)
Turkey vs. The Netherlands 3:0 (25-17, 25-19, 25-20)
Turkey claimed a second victory this afternoon in Cagliari as the girls around coach Bedestenlioglu shut out Holland in three straight sets. The â€œOranjesâ€, with this defeat, finally missed their last chance to qualify for the 2011 FIVB World Grand Prix. Neslihan Darnel was once again the main force for Turkey with 24 points (and 50% of efficiency, for a total of 20 points out of 40 attempts in attack). The Netherlands did not certainly play a great tournament in Cagliari â€“ with the only exception being the 3:0 they stamped on Sunday against the hosts of Italy â€“ and this afternoon Wensink and Grothues were the best scorers for the orange side with 10 points each.
Bulgaria vs. Germany 0:3 (24-26, 26-28, 22-25)
Having already pre-booked a spot for the 2011 FIVB World Grand Prix with their victory against Italy, the Germans finished their campaign in Cagliari on a high note with a classy performance in their last game with Bulgaria. As a result of the defeat Russia suffered later in the evening, Christiane FÃ¼rst and her mates claimed even the first place in the final standings with Margareta Anna Kozuch scoring a total of 17 points. Germany stamped a total of 12 blocks and displayed also a very solid reception, with a 56% of efficiency. Emiliya Nikolova was the best player for the Bulgarian side with 15 points.
Italy vs. Russia 3:1 (25-22, 17-25, 25-21, 25-20)
Italy cruised past Russia in four sets to claim the third and last ticket at stake for the 2011 FIVB World Grand Prix. The tickets to be distributed in Cagliari to join the next FIVB World Grand Prix were indeed increased from two to three after the FIVB Board of Administration did endorse a recommendation descending from the Grand Prix Council to extend the participating teams to 16 for the 2011 edition of this event. With the total of teams competing there having increased by 4 units, Europe was granted an additional spot and hence the teams finishing in first, second and third place respectively in Cagliari are joining Serbia (winner of the 2010 CEV European League) and Poland (wild card) to represent Europe at the 2011 FIVB World Grand Prix whose finals are set to be played in late August in Macau, China.
Coach Barbolini was forced to opt for an unusual starting six as Jenny Barazza and Chiara Di Iulio were still injured. Russian mentor Kuzyutkin did also not line-up all of his best players with Katya Gamova and middle blocker Merkulova going for some rest. The Italians played with the right motivation even though they were aware they could have made it to the 2011 FIVB World Grand Prix also upon losing that game 2:3 since they enjoyed a better set ratio than their closest contender, i.e. Turkey.