Meet the 17-year-old volleyball phenom that is taking the world by storm

Meet the 17-year-old volleyball phenom that is taking the world by storm

Paola Egonu is making sure people remember the name.

Egonu is having her breakout party at the Rio Games, a 17-year-old phenom that could be at the forefront of the Italian national team for at least the next decade.

In the USA-Italy match Friday afternoon, Egonu was the 6-foot-3 specimen sporting braces and bouncing around like she was on a trampoline.

Egonu notched 20 points and three blocks against the Americans, bringing her tournament total to 73 points (an average of more than 18 per match) and eight blocks.

That’s especially amazing given Italy was swept in its first three matches of the prelim stage, meaning Egonu was only getting three sets a night to pad the stats.

On the whole, Egonu has scored 37.2 percent of her team’s total (73 of the 196 points attributed to Italy).

Egonu made her debut with Italy’s national team just this year after being named the Best Outside Spiker and Most Valuable Player at the 2015 World U18 Championships.

Both her parents are from Africa – her dad from Nigeria and her mom from Benin – but Egonu was born in Italy.

Egonu is part of a youth movement on the Italian women’s volleyball team, joining 18-year-old setter Alessia Orro and 22-year-old middle blocker Cristina Chirichella as the fresh-faced stars blossoming into the national team’s cornerstones.

In contrast, Italian captain Antonella Del Core is 35 years old and is in her third Olympics. She made her first appearance at the 2004 Games, when Egonu was just six years old.

Italy won’t be moving on to the quarterfinals round, but Egonu has officially announced her arrival on the international volleyball scene:

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