SAPPORO, Japan -- The United States lost to Italy in five sets on Saturday at the World Grand Prix tournament.
The 19-25, 25-22, 23-25, 25-18, 16-14 result was the fourth straight loss for the US in the Final Round of the world's top international volleyball tournament. The defending champions have one more match, against Japan on Sunday.
After coming back to win the first set, and taking a 2-1 lead after three, the U.S. thought it had finally put away Italy in the fifth by winning a point while up 14-11. But the referee called a touch and Italy went on to save four match points.
"That was an extremely disappointing loss," U.S. coach Karch Kiraly said. "Our team was in a great position to win and we thought we did win on the play the referee called the other way. Then we weren't able to close the match out after working hard to put ourselves in that position."
Italy is 1-3 in the final round, which Brazil and China lead with 4-0 records.