Rosario, Argentina, August 24, 2017 - Defending champions Italy are one of the eight quarterfinals teams at the FIVB Volleyball Girls’ U18 World Championship, as the competitors enjoy a rest day before returning to action on Friday. Among the many rising stars on the Italian roster, wing-spiker Elena Pietrini
is steadily walking the development track while she feeds her volleyball dreams.
From the MVP award at the U18 Italian competition to making it into the European Championship Dream Team and leading the scorers’ race at Argentina 2017, it seems Pietrini is headed for a bright future.
Further into that route, the Olympic Games appear. It’s the competition every player wishes to play at and Pietrini is no different. “I dream about playing the Olympics. I don’t know if it will be right now, because I need to keep working on my game, but I hope I can play in the senior team soon,” she says, as the statement reconfirms her path is one to be travelled step by step.
At club level, she will now join Club Italia - the development project for young promises of the Italian Junior and Youth women’s teams, in which she will play for the first time. The girls will play in Italian Serie A2 in the upcoming season and for Elena it’s a whole new challenge, way past her beginnings in Livorno. “I’d love to play my whole career in the Italian League. In this next A2 I will face stronger and more experienced players than me; that will make me grow,” she said.
Future aside, it is World Championship time and Pietrini cheerfully talks about the many good things she sees in her team. “We are very united and try to be even closer with each match. I love my team because in the hardest moments we never try to attack each other; we are always supportive and try to carry on,” she said. “We have a lot of fun when we play. We are a true group of friends inside and outside the court.”
“My mother was a volleyball player and my father played basketball. I started watching my sister and volleyball became my passion five years ago from now,” added Pietrini. “They always come with me; even when they are far away I feel like they are always there. My family and friends are the most important things for me.”
With her loved ones as strength and her friends on the team, Pietrini is ready for the best at the U18 World Champs. All the players share a legend inscribed on one of Pietrini's arms - The moment is now. “It’s something Marco (Mencarelli, the coach) always says, that now’s the time to push and give everything we have to go for our goals,” she explained. Could that goal be the second gold medal in a row for Italy? “We never feel we will be the champions; we are focused on playing one match at a time.”