By Tomasso

It was the first match day in a while without any big matches, but you should know by now that there are no easy matches in Italy. Well, almost. Perugia had absolutely no problems hosting Vibo (3-0), with the guests going up only in the beginning of the 2nd set (5-7) and trailing the rest of the game. The usual suspects Leòn (12 points, 57% kills, 3 aces, 1 block) and Atanasjevic (13 points, 61% kills, 2 aces) were taken off in the final part of the 3rd set just to receive some applause. Vibo finished with -3% reception efficiency and scoring machine Al Hachdadi (12 points, 41% kills, 1 ace, 2 blocks) as the only man in double digits. Everything was easy for Trento in Latina as well (0-3, 52-75 aggregate points). The home team was forced to play without Parodi and the OHs ended with an aggregate 30% kills. Trento sat out Kovacevic in favor of Van Garderen (8 points, 55% kills, 65% positive reception, 2 blocks) and let Russell (19 points, 75% kills, 3 aces, 1 block) and Vettori (15 points, 50% kills, 2 blocks) do the job.

A more potentially troublesome match was played in Civitanova Marche, where Lube hosted Monza just 3 days after the incredible Italian Cup match. If you missed it, I’ll give you a fast recap. Lube went up 2-0, Juantorena injured himself, Monza forced the game to tie-break, went up 14-11, wasted 6-7 match balls and Lube ultimately won 19-17. This time, though, the job was much easier for Lube (3-0, 75-55 aggregate points). Kovar (6 points, 50% kills, 57% positive reception, 1 block) started for Juantorena (who could be out for a while), Diamantini and Stankovic (15 points, 85% kills, 1 ace, 3 blocks combined) kept Cester and Simon on the bench the whole game and Leal (17 points, 48% kills, 55% positive reception, 2 aces, 1 block) was the top scorer. After the 29 points in the Italian Cup, Ghafour took a big step back (7 points, 29% kills, 3 blocks), as did Dzavoronok (5 points, 40% kills, 1 ace) after scoring 8 aces on Thursday.

A much more interesting match was held in Padova, where Modena came to play without Kaliberda (lower back pain) and, more importantly, Christenson (knee trouble). Bednorz is now a regular starter, but for Keemink it was the 1st game as a starter in Superleague and the 2nd overall since his arrival in Modena. The Dutch setter had a good start with an ace and a 2nd touch kill, but his sets were a bit sloppy, especially for the wings. Padova was in front almost the whole set and gained the first set balls (24-22), but Modena immediately turned the tables around (24-25). The guests wasted 3 set balls, then Padova overtook again (28-27) and, after wasting 6 set balls themselves, finally closed it 35-33 with a block by Alberto Polo.

Padova started strong in the 2nd as well (6-2), then Modena came back and kept in close range until they overtook at 18-19. A block by Keemink gave Modena their first 2-points advantage of the game, then Padova came back again (23-23) before watching Urnaut closing the deal for Modena (23-25), despite the home team recording 6 blocks.

Not much to say about the 3rd set, with Modena dominating 16-25 (32%-56% kills). The guests seemed on their way to gaining the 4th as well (18-20), then Padova started blocking like in the 2nd set and, with a 7-3 break, forced the game to a tie-break. The home team was ready to take the victory after going up 5-2 and 12-8, then Pierotti subbed Bednorz and Modena was able to catch Padova (13-13). After 3 match balls wasted by Padova, Modena took the lead (18-19) and, on 3rd attempt, a spike out by Louati gave the victory to the guests (20-22). 156 minutes were needed for this game, which saw Padova taking advantage of Keemink’s far from perfect sets (16 blocks, 6 each on Zaytsev and Urnaut) and finding firepower in Louati (26 points, 51% kills, 4 aces, 3 blocks) and Torres (20 points, 46% kills, 1 ace, 3 blocks). Modena’s sloppy serving allowed for 52% positive reception (29% perfect) and Travica was able to use the middles effectively (26 points, 68% kills, 2 aces, 9 blocks combined).

Verona hosted Siena (who hired coach Cichello) and tried to put pressure on Milano (they will host Sora on Tuesday). A tight and enjoyable match was the result (if you’re not a fan of either team, that is), with Verona winning the first 2 with relative ease. Siena came back in the 3rd set, compensating the lack of kills (50% against Verona’s 56%) with 5 aces and winning it 22-25. The 4th set was a great fight, with Siena going up 19-21 but, just when everyone was waiting for the tie-break, Verona scored a 6-1 break and left the guests empty handed once again. 5 players in double digits for Verona and a huge game for the middles (15 points, 91% kills, 1 ace, 4 blocks for Solé; 13 points, 85% kills, 2 blocks for Birarelli), in a game where both Kaziyski and Boyer were effective (13 and 12 points) but far from efficient (36% and 39% kills).

Another losing effort for Siena, whose wings scored 51 points over 66 but whose middles had an awful game. Cortesia and Van de Voorde were both replaced in the 3rd by Spadavecchia and Gladyr, but their aggregate score says 14 points, 48% kills, 3 aces (all by Gladyr) and just 1 block. The good news for Siena is, I gave you wrong information over relegation. With Piacenza failing to participate to this year’s Superleague, there will be only 2 relegations (instead of the original 3), so, since Sora will likely come home from Milan with 0 points, the safety zone is still only 4 points away for Siena. With only 8 matches left to play, though, they better start winning.

Speaking of relegations, on Saturday Castellana took yet another defeat (1-3) while hosting Ravenna. The guests went back to the their lineup from the start of the season, that is to say, Argenta on the bench and Rychlicki on OPP. The Luxembourgian was spot on (25 points, 54% kills, 1 ace, 3 blocks), well assisted by the OHs (30 points, 47% kills, 3 aces, 4 blocks combined), but it was the great quality of defense and counterattack (29 break points not coming from aces) that gave Ravena the win. Bad game for Castellana, who attacked with 38% kills and saw almost half of their points come from Renan (29 points, 43% kills, 4 aces, 3 blocks). Still, kudos to them, despite being virtually relegated they keep fighting on every game.

RESULTS AND SCORESHEETS

Sir Volley Perugia 3-0 Callipo Vibo Valentia (25-17, 25-20, 25-20)

Perugia: De Cecco 2, Lanza 8, Podrascanin 4, Atanasijevic 13, Leon 12, Ricci 8, Colaci (L), Della Lunga 1, Seif 0, Piccinelli 0, Hoag 0, Hoogendoorn 1.

Vibo Valentia: Zhukouski 2, Skrimov 3, Mengozzi 3, Al Hachdadi 12, Barreto Silva 2, Vitelli 6, Cappio (L), Strohbach 3, Marsili 0, Lopez 5, Marra (L), Presta 0, Domagala 2.

MVP: Luciano De Cecco (Perugia)

Blu Volley Verona 3-1 Emma Villas Siena (25-22, 25-20, 22-25, 25-22)

Verona: Spirito 3, Manavinezhad 12, Solé 15, Boyer 12, Kaziyski 13, Birarelli 13, Giuliani (L), De Pandis (L), Marretta 0, Alletti 0.

Siena: Marouflakrani 1, Ishikawa 19, Van De Voorde 3, Hernandez Ramos 16, Savani 16, Cortesia 3, Caldelli (L), Giovi (L), Maruotti 0, Giraudo 0, Spadavecchia 2, Gladyr 6.

MVP: Sebastian Solé (Verona)

Lube Civitanova 3-0 Vero Volley Monza (25-21, 25-16, 25-18)

Civitanova: Bruno 2, Leal 17, Stankovic 9, Sokolov 11, Kovar 6, Diamantini 6, Marchisio (L), Balaso (L), Massari 0.

Monza: Orduna 0, Dzavoronok 5, Beretta 8, Ghafour 7, Botto 6, Yosifov 5, Picchio (L), Arasomwan 2, Rizzo (L), Giannotti 0, Calligaro 0, Buchegger 7.

MVP: Dragan Stankovic (Civitanova)

Pallavolo Padova 2-3 Modena Volley (35-33, 23-25, 16-25, 25-23, 20-22)

Padova: Travica 3, Louati 26, Polo 11, Torres 20, Cirovic 7, Volpato 15, Bassanello (L), Cottarelli 0, Lazzaretto 1, Danani La Fuente (L), Premovic 0, Barnes 1.

Modena: Keemink 5, Urnaut 18, Anzani 13, Zaytsev 25, Bednorz 15, Holt 10, Benvenuti (L), Rossini (L), Pierotti 2, Mazzone 1.

MVP: Tine Urnaut (Modena)

Top Volley Latina 0-3 Trentino Volley (18-25, 15-25, 19-25)

Latina: Sottile 1, Palacios 6, Rossi 2, Stern T. 16, Ngapeth 4, Gitto 6, Caccioppola (L), Stern Z. 3, Santucci (L), Barone 1.

Trento: Giannelli 5, Van Garderen 8, Lisinac 7, Vettori 15, Russell 19, Candellaro 3, De Angelis (L), Nelli 1, Grebennikov (L).

MVP: Aaron Russell (Trento)

New Mater Castellana Grotte 1-3 Porto Robur Costa Ravenna (25-20, 18-25, 28-30, 19-25)

Castellana Grotte: Falaschi 3, Wlodarczyk 12, De Togni 1, Kruzhkov 0, Mirzajanpourmouziraji 12, Zingel 9, Pace (L), Zanatta Buiatti 29, Cavaccini (L), Scopelliti 2.

Ravenna: Saitta 0, Poglajen 16, Verhees 8, Rychlicki 24, Raffaelli 17, Russo 7, Marchini (L), Argenta 1, Goi (L), Lavia 0, Di Tommaso 0.

MVP: Christian Poglajen (Ravenna)

STANDINGS

Perugia – 48

Trento – 47

Civitanova – 44

Modena – 42

Milano* – 34

Verona – 32

Padova – 27

Monza* – 24

Ravenna – 23

Vibo* – 19

Latina – 18

Sora** – 15

Siena* – 11

Castellana – 6

*one game less

**two games less

STATISTICAL LEADERS – PLAYERS

Points (match day): Renan Zanatta Buiatti (Castellana) – 29

Points (Superleague): Stephen Boyer (Verona) – 387

Points per set: Dusan Petkovic (Sora) – 5.53

Aces (match day): Yacine Louati (Padova), Renan Zanatta Buiatti (Castellana) – 4

Aces (Superleague): Wilfredo Leòn (Perugia) – 74

Aces per set: Wilfredo Leòn (Perugia) – 1.10

Blocks (match day): Alberto Polo (Padova), Thomas Beretta (Monza) – 5

Blocks (Superleague): Sebastian Solé (Verona) – 55

Blocks per set: Sebastian Solé (Verona) – 0.72

STATISTICAL LEADERS – TEAMS

Kill % (match day): Perugia – 56%

Kill % (Superleague): Perugia – 56.5%

Aces (match day): Perugia, Padova, Castellana, Trento – 7

Total aces: Perugia – 185

Aces/set: Perugia – 2.76

Blocks (match day): Padova – 16

Total blocks: Verona – 197

Blocks/set: Verona – 2.59

NEXT ROUND (February 3rd, 6 pm Italian, noon ET):

Modena – Perugia (3.30 pm Italian, 9.30 am ET, RaiSport)

Sora – Civitanova

Ravenna – Verona (February 2nd, 3.15 pm Italian, 9.15 am ET, RaiSport)

Monza – Milano

Siena – Padova (February 2nd, 8.30 pm Italian, 2.30 pm ET)

Vibo – Latina

Trento – Castellana

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