Ituma is Italian's leading scorer in the tournament

Two-time FIVB Volleyball Girls’ U18 World Championship winners Italy had an eventful start to their campaign in the 2021 edition of the tournament as the Europeans came from behind to defeat Egypt 3-1 at the Auditorio del Pueblo in Durango, Mexico.

The other Pool B match of the second day of the tournament reunited Turkey and Peru and saw the Europeans remain undefeated with a straight-set victory. Italians and Turkish will meet in the third day of the tournament, Wednesday, while Peru will play the Dominican Republic, which was off on Tuesday.

The Italians showed power and maturity to rebound from a slow star and impose their game from the second set on. The Europeans were stronger in basically every skill, outscoring the Africans in kills (45-29), blocks (11-2) and aces (11-1).

An U20 world champion just two months ago, outside hitter Julia Ituma was the top performer of the match with 25 points (22 kills, two blocks, one ace). Opposite Giulia Viscioni was also in top form and added 15. Egypt’s top soccer was outside hitter Malak Elbehiry, with 14 points, all in kills.

“It’s normal that we start the tournament a little slower and take our time to find our rhythm,” Ituma reflected. From the second set on, we gave all we had to win because if we didn’t make it, we wanted to make sure it wasn’t’ for a lack of effort. Egypt played well and did the best they could, but we were the better team today. The last three sets were closer to the level we expect to play, but we can still do better.”

The Turkish kept their perfect record in the tournament so far with a dominant three-set victory against Peru. The Europeans, who are yet to drop a set after two matches, were nearly flawless in the first and third sets and benefited from an advantage on their offense (32 kills to 19) to keep the South Americans under control.

Gocmen led Turkey's offense with 12 points

Gocmen led Turkey's offense with 12 points

Outside hitters Aleyna Gocmen and Ege Bukmen shared the Turkish offensive load with 12 (eight kills, one set and three blocks) and 11 (ten kills, one ace) points respectively. The Peruvians also got good production from their outside hitters with team captain Alondra Alarcon and Maria Cisneros adding eight points each.

“I think we played really well in our second game,” setter Dilay Ozdemir reacted. “The connection between our players was really strong and even though we had some errors on our serves, we feel good about our start in the tournament. I hope we can play well again tomorrow, against Italy, as it’s a really important match for us.”