Captain Populini was one of the main scorers at Italy's final battle to retain World Champs title
Rosario, Argentina, August 27, 2017 - Undefeated after eight matches, Italy successfully held on to the FIVB Volleyball Girls’ U18 World Championship title after a spectacular final match against Dominican Republic which won 3-1 (25-23, 19-25, 25-12, 25-20).
While Italy secured back-to-back titles for the first time of their history, for Dominican Republic it was also a dream run as the Caribbean girls reached the podium for the very first time in this age group category.
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Italy was led by a power trio of scorers - Terry Enweonwu and Elena Pietrini capped 17 points apiece and captain Alessia Populini were just one behind of them. Dominican Republic fought hard led by Madeline Guillen, who scored a full set herself with 25 tallies.
Lubian fired a couple of cannonballs and Populini joined for Italian scores of 16-10 and 19-14, and although Guillen had a nine-point first set, Italy made it through 25-23. Dominican Republic quickly reacted with a 6-3 by Martinez and that difference grew larger to 25-19. The third set seemed to be vital and it was for Italy, as Enweonwu, Fahr and Pietrini took shifts to score until the 25-12, but Guillen unleashed the beast once again to max up the emotions in the fourth episode. They were leveled until the 17th point, when Italy escaped 19-17 with Enweonwu and never looked back. The same Enweonwu triggered the celebration by 25-20.