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Italy Gains Revenge, Beats Netherlands 3-0

July 25, 1996

ATLANTA (AP) _ Italy re-established its dominance in Olympic men’s volleyball today by beating the Netherlands 3-0 to remain undefeated in Pool B.

The top-ranked Italians, led by hard-hitting Andrea Giani, the 1995 international player of the year, won 15-8, 15-8, 15-13 to improve to 3-0. The second-ranked Dutch fell to 2-1. Yugoslavia, 2-0 in the pool, played a late-afternoon match against Tunisia in Athens, Ga.

The Italians have won every major championship this decade except the Olympics. The Netherlands, often the frustrated runnerup, finally achieved a breakthrough last month when it outlasted Italy 22-20 to win the World League final in Rotterdam.

Italy used its strength to negate Netherlands’ height. Giani hit a service ace with his potent jump serve to win the first set, then slammed the ball down off a triple block to win the second.

The Netherlands pulled to 13-13 in the third, but Andrea Gardini’s block made it 14-13, and Giani put down a spike for the match-winner. The Dutch scored the first two points of the first set, its only lead in the match.

Italy was favored to win the gold medal at Barcelona in 1992, but was knocked out in the quarterfinals by the Netherlands, which went on to lose to Brazil in the final.

The Netherlands lost to Italy in the 1994 World championships and 1995 World Cup, as well as the 1993 and 1995 European championships.

In an earlier match, Argentina rebounded from a loss to the United States by beating Bulgaria 3-1 to enhance its chances of finishing third in Pool A.

Argentina won 15-10, 15-8, 11-15, 15-10 to improve to 2-1. Argentina opened Olympic play with an upset of defending gold medalist Brazil on Sunday, but came out flat against the United States and lost 3-0. Bulgaria, which also upset Brazil, fell to 1-2.

Jorge Elgueta had 25 kills and Marcos Milinkovic 17 for Argentina. Sebastian Jabif, who was shaken up during the third set but remained in the match, had seven blocks, including four for points. Ivaylo Gavrilov had a match-high 27 kills.

Pool A leaders Cuba and the United States, both 2-0, meet tonight.

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