Italy's players have had plenty to celebrate in 2018
Lausanne, Switzerland, December 5, 2018 – Italy’s women’s volleyball team were given one of their country’s highest sporting prizes when they won Team of the Year at the Gazzetta Sport Awards 2018 following their run to the Japan 2018 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship gold medal match.
The Gazzetta Sports Awards are organised by Italy’s leading sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport and are one of the highlights of the end of year sports awards. The Awards ceremony attracts the cream of Italian sport and took place on December 4 at a grand gala event in Milan which was broadcast live to the nation.
Davide Mazzanti’s side lost 3-2 (21-25, 25-14, 23-25, 25-19, 15-12) to Serbia, but their run to the final captured the imagination of the country and over 8 million viewers tuned into state broadcaster RAI TV to watch the match.
Soon after their return home they were granted an official reception with President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella at the Quirinale Palace in Rome.
Four of the squad made the official team of the tournament - opposite Paola Egonu who finished the tournament as leading scorer with 324 points, setter Ofelia Malinov, libero Monica De Gennaro and outside hitter Miryam Sylla.
Egonu was as one of eight nominees for the Woman of the Year Award, but missed out to PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games downhill skiing gold medallists Sofia Goggia.
Mazzanti was one of two volleyball coaches to be nominated for the Coach of the Year Award along with Lorenzo Bernardi, who led Sir Safety Conad Perugia to a treble of Serie A, Coppa Italia and Super Coppa Italia, but both finished behind Juventus FC coach Massimiliano Allegri.
It is the second time in three years that an Italian volleyball team won the Team of the Year Award. In 2016 Italy’s men won after they left the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games with silver.