The 2023 FIVB Volleyball Women’s U21 World Championship ended in spectacular fashion as China secured their triumph with a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Italy in Leon, Mexico. The Chinese team exhibited extraordinary resilience, coming back twice in the match to clinch the title with set scores of 19-25, 25-25, 23-25, 25-22, and 15-8. Brazil rounded out the podium, taking third place after defeating Japan in straight sets.
A Story of Resilience
China’s journey to the top was one filled with challenges and comeback stories. Starting their campaign on a low note with a straight-sets loss to Serbia, China roared back to win seven consecutive matches and secure the championship. The team displayed a never-give-up attitude, which was pivotal in their final clash against Italy.
In the final, China leaned heavily on their potent outside hitter duo. Team captain Yushan Zhuang led the way, registering 23 points to top the scoring chart. She was ably supported by Xin Tang, who chipped in with an additional 17 points.
Italy, too, had their moments in the match. Outside hitter Stella Nervini was the standout performer for the European side with 21 points, followed by Anna Adelusi, who registered 13. Despite putting up a valiant fight, the Italians could not keep up with the resurgent Chinese team in the fifth and deciding set.
Brazil’s Podium Return
In the bronze medal match, Brazil secured a 3-0 victory over Japan with scores of 25-16, 25-21, and 25-14, thereby making their return to the podium for the first time since 2015. Helena Wenk led the South Americans with 15 points, while middle blocker Juliana Gandra added 14. Japan’s leading scorer was outside hitter Amika Saiki, who managed 11 points in the match.