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We fought hard even when we were down - Blengini

 
Osaka, Japan, September 17, 2017 – Italy coach Gianlorenzo Blengini said that even though they were down the players fought hard to win against USA in the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Grand Champions Cup on Sunday.

World Grand Champions Cup - Scores

Italy coach Gianlorenzo Blengini: I am completely happy with today’s win. I’m very proud of my players because they performed so well in a very important match. It’s been a tough year for us and we’ve had some hard situations to deal with, but the team showed patience and continued to play the volleyball we wanted to play.

Once Ben Patch came in, he put us in a lot of trouble, not so much tactically but because of his technical abilities. They also changed the setter to Kawika Shoji and he is a top player, so that put more pressure on us. However, we stayed in the match and controlled it. We knew we couldn’t block Patch every time so we had to try and get a touch when he didn’t spike so well. Even when we were down, we fought hard to the end and because of this I’m very satisfied with my players. They went through a lot this year so they deserve it more than anything.

Italy player Daniele Mazzone: It was a good game. It was also a tense game as we usually have when we play USA. At the start, we put them in a lot of trouble but after that we were the ones in trouble. Overall, I think we did well in counter-attack and our service was pretty good, so I am happy with the result today.

Italy player Filippo Lanza: It was a great game today. I think both teams played well. It all came down to two or three plays where we were better. I’m very satisfied with the result today.

Quick links - Volleyball:
FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup - Women
FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup - Men
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USA coach John Speraw: I don’t think we started in the right emotional place. We had a really tough match yesterday and I’m not sure we came out in peak performance. I was really pleased with some of the players coming off the bench. Sometimes that’s what you need in a tournament with a format like this. You have to have good bench players. I thought Ben Patch did great once he got going, so did Kawika Shoji. I think we had some great performances off the bench, which allowed us to get back into the match, but I’m disappointed with the way things went at the end. Italy played well. They served well and put us under pressure. We did passing really, really well throughout the course of this tournament. Italy served great and made some great defensive plays towards the end.

USA captain David Smith: It was a good match even though we didn’t get the result we wanted, but I’m really proud of my guys. We had to overcome our fatigue but I thought we had good focus. They were just a little better than us, so congratulations to them.

USA player Micah Christenson: It was a tough match. We had a lot of fatigue after lots of games in just a few days. At the same time, we had an opportunity to play and to be on the medal stand but we didn’t execute things as we wanted to. We didn’t have as much energy as we wanted to but that’s something we can learn from. We have a young group of players and we’re lucky that it’s the first year of the quad, so we have to learn in these important tournaments.

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