By Tommasso

The most anticipated match of the day was held in Civitanova Marche between Lube and Modena. Before the game, not many people had doubts about Lube winning, but in Wednesday’s CL match Modena put up quite a fight in 3 sets over 4, so potentially it could have been an interesting match. Well, it wasn’t. The match was officially over in 72 minutes, but actually in a lot less. Modena scored 50 points, 14 of which were courtesy of Lube, and never reached 20 points in a single set. I read that it was Lube’s widest victory against Modena of all time, but it goes beyond that. I’m pretty sure that Modena never had such an overwhelming defeat since the new management took over (2014) and it’s very much possible that yesterday’s was their worst defeat since the beginning of the rally point system era.

Numbers don’t even come close to the ass-kicking that took place at Eurosuole Forum. This is by far the lowest point reached by Modena in the last 5 years. Aside from the recent beats and the situation in the standings, it’s painful to watch a team that looks resigned and seems to be just waiting for this nightmare to be over. Despite yet another sloppy game, Zaytsev (8 points, 38% kills) was the only one who got angry when spikes didn’t hit the ground, calling for video checks and, ultimately, showing some pride. The other players and the coaching staff looked like people awkwardly asking themselves “how did I get there? What am I doing here?”. Man, what a disaster! Lube, on the other hand, after a huge game by Sokolov (17 points, 80% kills, 5 aces, 4 blocks) reached Trento in the standings, even if the Alps guys are still waiting to play against Verona in the Adige derby.

Very few people expected the match between head of the standings and fresh Italian Cup winner Perugia against last in the standings and virtually relegated Castellana Grotte to be closer than the one between Lube and Modena, but so it was. Perugia, even with Leòn watching the whole game from the bench, didn’t really have any problems in winning the match, but Castellana fought very hard, scoring 65 points and leading most of the 2nd set. The home team was simply too much for them. Neither Hoag (8 points, 38% kills) nor Lanza (6 points, 31% kills, 2 aces) took charge while Leòn was out, but who cares when you have Atanasjevic (22 points, 62% kills, 3 aces, 1 block) and the middles (18 points, 75% kills, 3 aces, 3 blocks combined) still fired up from the Italian Cup? Again, though, kudos to Castellana who keeps fighting hard despite the fact that their relegation is like a technical foul called on DeMarcus Cousins. You know it’s going to happen, you just don’t know when.

A very interesting match took place in Busto Arsizio, where Milano hosted Siena. The home team wanted the 3 points to reach Modena (which would still be in front of them due to more games won), while the guests needed them badly to save them from relegation. Siena’s motivations seemed to prevail as they won the 1st with ease (18-25), then Abdel-Aziz said “hell, no!”, scored 6 aces in the 2nd set alone and Milano won it 25-12. After 2 very unbalanced set, what could happen in the 3rd? An epic battle, of course! Milano seemed to have banked it on 22-16, then Gladyr went to the service line and Siena scored a 7-0 break who gave them an unexpected lead. After wasting 4 set balls, though, an ace by Hirsh gave Milano back the lead and a kill by Maar closed it 32-30. The 4th set saw Milano leading all the time, with Siena always trailing after the initial 6-6, and a kill by Abdel-Aziz sealed the deal 25-22. It was the 8th consecutive win for Milano, which is the best Superleague team in the 2nd half of the regular season with 21 points in 8 games, 1 more than Perugia and Lube and 8 more than Modena (7th). While Milano’s offense found answers in Abdel-Aziz (21 points, 54% kills, 6 aces), Maar (17 points, 52% kills, 1 block) and Piano (11 points, 67% kills, 2 aces, 1 block), the defense was led by Pesaresi, who was named MVP of the match. Siena maybe could have gained points if they stuck with Gladyr (10 points, 67% kills, 3 aces, 3 blocks) instead of Van de Voorde (3 points, 29% kills, 1 block). The idea of playing with Maruotti (12 points, 52% kills, 1 block) instead of Savani was good, however. Great losing effort from Hernandez (24 points, 59% kills, 1 block), not so much from Ishikawa (10 points, 24% kills, -7% reception efficiency, 2 aces, 2 blocks).

Luckily for Siena, Sora lost too, so their hopes to avoid relegation are still standing, even if there are now only 5 games left to cover a 5 points deficit. Monza played an outstanding game on blocking, scoring 19 in 3 sets with an almost perfect distribution (6, 6, 7) and 4 players with 4 blocks each, among which the fully recovered Plotnytskyi (22 points, 64% kills, 2 aces, 4 blocks) as the undisputed MVP of the match. Sora scored only 60 points with 36% kills and Petkovic, despite his 19 points and 5 aces, got blocked 10 times. Definitely a night to forget. First 3-0 win of the season for Monza, which kept their 8th seed but couldn’t overtake Padova which, despite Randazzo being officially out for the season, recorded an easy win (3-0) over Vibo.

It was the first game for Vibo with Daniele Bagnoli as head coach, a guy who won, among other things, 8 Scudettos and 5 Champions Leagues between Modena and Treviso. Despite this, Padova’s victory was clear (75-53 aggregate), with Torres (13 points, 58% kills, 1 ace, 1 block), Polo (10 points, 78% kills, 1 ace, 2 blocks) and great reception (63% positive) leading the way. Finally, Ravenna won the fight against Latina (2-3) gaining an important +12 on the relegation zone but losing another point (-5) to the playoff zone. It was a very tight match, with Ravenna scoring only 3 points more than Latina (104-107), but coming back from 2-1 under, thanks mainly to yet another impressive match by Rychlicki (34 points, 58% kills, 2 blocks). First lost at tie -break for Latina, which is now in a limbo as well, being -8 from the playoff zone but +9 from the relegation zone.

The match between Verona and Trento was as exciting as anticipated. Trento had a good start in the 1st going up 6-10, then Verona caught up (15-15). Lisinac’s turn on service gave Trento the lead (19-23) which they kept until the end (21-25). Verona played better in the 2nd, leading all the time, always rejecting Trento’s comeback attempts and evening the game (25-21). Trento started the 3rd with Codarin replacing Lisinac in an attempt to improve blocking. Down 11-16, Verona did the same replacing Solé with Alletti and his blocking started a comeback that, unfortunately for them, ended on 20-23, when Lorenzetti called 2 timeouts and put Van Garderen on the field. It was the Dutch OH himself who closed the set (21-25). In the 4th, Verona started really strong (8-1), rejected Trento’s comeback attempt (15-10) and won the set with ease (25-18). Lorenzetti put Lisinac back in for a positive Codarin (7 points, 83% kills, 2 blocks) and replaced a sloppy Vettori (10 points, 33% kills, 1 ace, 1 block) with Nelli. The tie break was a hard fight, with neither team able to gain a 2-point lead and Verona wasting 2 match balls until a kill by Kaziyski sealed the deal (16-14). Verona won a great match led by their leaders (24 points, 53% kills, 1 ace, 2 blocks for Kaziyski; 20 points, 43% kills, 1 ace, 4 blocks for Boyer) but also thanks to an effective Manavi (15 points, 56% kills) and a great impact by Alletti (6 points, 100% kills, 1 ace, 3 blocks). On Trento’s side, Kovacevic (20 points, 55% kills, 50% positive reception, 2 aces, 1 block) seems fully recovered, while Russell (11 points, 38% kills, 1 ace, 1 block) had another subpar performance. Great game by Candellaro (14 points, 100% kills, 1 ace, 5 blocks), while Nelli (6 points, 56% kills, 1 ace) probably deserved more playing time.

In other news, a usually reliable source reported that Mateusz Bienek signed a contract with Lube starting next season. There is some questions left unanswered though, because while Bienek is undoubtedly a great MB, Simon has a contract with Lube for next season as well and, in order to play with both of them in Superleague, they would have to bench either Bruno, Leal or Sokolov for an Italian player and that doesn’t really make sense to me.

RESULTS AND SCORESHEETS

Lube Civitanova 3-0 Modena Volley (25-17, 25-14, 25-19)

Civitanova: Bruno 5, Juantorena 10, Cester 6, Sokolov 17, Leal 16, Stankovic 5, Marchisio (L), Balaso (L), Cantagalli 0, Kovar 0.

Modena: Keemink 2, Urnaut 4, Anzani 2, Zaytsev 8, Bednorz 7, Holt 3, Benvenuti (L), Rossini (L), Pinali 5, Kaliberda 4, Mazzone 1, Pierotti 0.

MVP: Tsvetan Sokolov (Civitanova)

Top Volley Latina 2-3 Porto Robur Costa Ravenna (25-17, 19-25, 27-25, 21-25, 12-15)

Latina: Sottile 2, Parodi 13, Rossi 2, Stern T. 19, Palacios 15, Barone 7, Caccioppola (L), Stern Z. 0, Santucci (L), Ngapeth 4, Gavenda 4, Gitto 6, Huang 0.

Ravenna: Saitta 6, Poglajen 12, Verhees 7, Rychlicki 34, Raffaelli 12, Russo 8, Marchini (L), Di Tommaso 0, Argenta 0, Goi (L), Lavia 0, Elia 0.

MVP: Kamil Rychlicki (Ravenna)

Sir Volley Perugia 3-0 New Mater Castellana Grotte (25-22, 25-23, 25-20)

Perugia: De Cecco 1, Lanza 6, Podrascanin 10, Atanasijevic 22, Hoag 6, Ricci 8, Seif 0, Della Lunga 1, Colaci (L), Hoogendoorn 0, Galassi 0, Piccinelli 0.

Castellana: Falaschi 2, Wlodarczyk 12, Scopelliti 4, Zingel 11, Mirzajanpourmouziraji 12, De Togni 6, Cavaccini (L), Quartarone 0, Pace 0.

MVP: Aleksandar Atanasjevic (Perugia)

Argos Sora 0-3 Vero Volley Monza (22-25, 19-25, 19-25)

Sora: Kedzierski 1, De Barros Ferreira 10, Caneschi 3, Petkovic 19, Fey 5, Di Martino 3, Marrazzo 0, Bonami (L), Bermudez 0, Rawiak 0.

Monza: Orduna 1, Plotnytskyi 22, Yosifov 13, Ghafour 11, Dzavoronok 13, Beretta 5, Rizzo (L), Calligaro 0, Galliani 0, Botto 0.

MVP: Oleh Plotnytski (Monza)

Pallavolo Padova 3-0 Callipo Vibo Valentia (25-16, 25-22, 25-15)

Padova: Travica 6, Louati 11, Polo 10, Torres 13, Cirovic 9, Volpato 5, Bassanello (L), Cottarelli 0, Danani La Fuente (L), Lazzaretto 0.

Vibo Valentia: Zhukouski 2, Strohbach 5, Mengozzi 5, Al Hachdadi 15, Barreto Silva 0, Vitelli 3, Marra (L), Skrimov 5, Cappio (L), Lopez 0, Marsili 0.

MVP: Oscar Torres (Padova)

Power Volley Milano 3-1 Emma Villas Siena (18-25, 25-12, 32-30, 25-22)

Milano: Sbertoli 3, Clevenot 11, Kozamernik 5, Abdel-Aziz 21, Maar 17, Piano 11, Hoffer (L), Izzo 0, Pesaresi (L), Hirsch 4, Bossi 0.

Siena: Marouflakrani 3, Ishikawa 10, Van De Voorde 3, Hernandez Ramos 24, Maruotti 12, Cortesia 2, Caldelli (L), Vedovotto 0, Giovi (L), Gladyr 10, Savani 1, Giraudo 0.

MVP: Nicola Pesaresi (Milano)

Blu Volley Verona 3-2 Trentino Volley (21-25, 25-21, 21-25, 25-18, 16-14)

Verona: Spirito 5, Manavinezhad 15, Solé 3, Boyer 20, Kaziyski 24, Birarelli 7, Giuliani (L), De Pandis (L), Alletti 6, Sharifi 3, Marretta 0.

Trento: Giannelli 2, Kovacevic 20, Lisinac 5, Vettori 10, Russell 11, Candellaro 14, De Angelis (L), Nelli 6, Grebennikov (L), Van Garderen 2, Cavuto 0, Codarin 7.

MVP: Matey Kaziyski (Verona)

STANDINGS

Perugia* – 54

Trento* – 51

Civitanova* – 50

Modena*, Milano* – 42

Verona – 37

Padova – 32

Monza – 30

Ravenna – 25

Latina – 22

Vibo – 19

Sora – 18

Siena – 13

Castellana – 6

*clinched playoff berth

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