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ATLANTA 1996 OLYMPICS | VOLLEYBALL

Italy, Netherlands in Control in Pool B

July 28, 1996

Italy and the Netherlands, the world's top two men's volleyball teams, won their matches to solidify their hold on the top two places in Pool B heading into the quarterfinals.

Italy (4-0) beat Russia, 15-11, 15-6, 15-12, and Holland routed previously unbeaten Yugoslavia, 15-7, 15-6, 15-9, leaving each team 3-1. Yugoslavia was playing without team captain Dejan Brdovic, who returned home Friday after the death of his 14-month-old son from a brain tumor.

Italian middle blocker Vigor Bovolenta was left dazed and bleeding when a teammate accidentally elbowed him in the nose during the third set. Bovolenta was taken for examination and his condition wasn't immediately available.

Italy's Andrea Giani had a match-high 36 kills and three aces. Holland's Olof van der Meulen had 27 kills.

Yugoslavia's coach, Zoran Gajic, said Brdovic will not return. The funeral for his son is scheduled today.

Team officials said Brdovic long had thought about missing the Olympics but decided to stay with the team despite his son's illness.

"It is very hard for everybody emotionally," teammate Vladimir Batez said. "But we are trying to put it in the background. He would want us to concentrate on the games and bring a medal back."

At Athens, Ga., Cuba improved to 4-0 in Pool A and assured itself of a playoff berth with a 15-10, 15-12, 15-9 victory over Argentina (2-2), and Bulgaria swept Poland, 15-4, 15-10, 15-7. . . . In another Pool B match, South Korea defeated Tunisia, 15-4, 15-6, 15-6.

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