Super Lega 2022 - News

Piacenza 1904

Italian national team teammates Romanò and Michieletto joust at the net

Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza delivered under pressure again and continue alive in the SuperLega Credem Banca semifinals after the conclusion of the third round of their best-of-five series against Itas Trentino on Wednesday.

The Coppa Italia champions were on the road and had their backs against the wall after losing the first two duels, but responded with an emphatic 3-0 win to keep their hopes alive. In the other series, Allianz Milano also pulled off a big win on the road, taking the lead in their series against Cucine Lube Civitanova.

The fourth leg of both series will be held on Saturday, at 18:00 local time (16:00 UTC), and Trentino and Milano will both advance to the Italian League Final if they triumph.

· Watch all SuperLega Credem Banca matches live or on demand on VBTV.

After winning just one set in the first two dues with Trentino, Coppa Italia champions looked reinvigorated on Wednesday, handing the 2022 FIVB Men’s Club World Championship silver medallists a strong three-set (25-23, 25-22, 25-20) loss in front of their home fans.

Piacenza were in the exact same position a few weeks ago, trailing Valsa Group Modena 2-0 in their best-of-five quarterfinal series before they found their rhythm and came back to win it 3-2 and move forward.

Brazilian national team outside hitter Ricardo Lucarelli was instrumental in Piacenza’s victory as he produced a match-high 22 points (16 kills, two aces, four blocks). The 31-year-old player got impressive 11 points in the first set of the match.

“It was a big team win for us,” he said at the end. “Our service was really good and our blocking and our defence were very coordinated. We really didn’t like the way we played in the first two matches and wanted to make up for it today. The series is still open and I expect a lot of people at our stadium on Saturday to push us forward.”

Lucarelli’s fellow Brazilian national team outside hitter Yoandy Leal tallied 15 points (ten kills, one ace, four blocks) for Piacenza while Italian world champion opposite Yuri Romanò added another ten (nine kills, one block).

Trentino’s main hitters had all more limited production in comparison to the first two matches of the series with Bulgarian opposite Matey Kaziyski leading the team with 12 points (11 kills, one ace), followed by Italian outside hitters Alessandro Michieletto, with 11 (all in kills), and Daniele Lavia, who had nine (seven kills, one ace, one block).

“We were playing well in the first set, had a 21-18 lead, but we couldn’t score at the end, we missed counter-attacks and we paid for it,” libero Gabriele Laurenzano commented. “We were close in the second set too, but couldn’t play well in the third one. We know that this is the real Piacenza, not the one that we defeated in the first two matches, and we’ll be ready for a very difficult match four on Saturday.”

In Civitanova Marche, Milano confirmed their disappointing performance in the opening match of their series against Lube is definitely behind them as the team secured its second-straight victory, downing the defending champions in three sets (25-23, 25-18, 26-24) to take control of their series before they return home for match four on Saturday.

Opposite Jean Patry and outside hitter Yuki Ishikawa split Milano’s scoring load, with each of them tallying 14 points – the French Olympic champion had ten kills, three aces and one block, while the Japanese star got his production with 11 kills, one ace and two blocks.

Argentinean Olympic medallist middle blocker Agustin Loser, with 12 points (ten kills, two aces), and Cuban outside hitter Osniel Melgarejo, with ten (nine kills and the game-winning block), also reached double digits in scoring.

“We were well behind in set one, but managed to come back when not many people still believed,” coach Roberto Piazza analysed. “We were able to keep the same form in the second set and Lube got back in the game with several players coming off the bench in set three, but we remained focused and disciplined. The team deserves all the credit.”

For Lube, Bulgarian rising star outside hitter Aleksandar Nikolov was the only one to score in double digits with 11 points, all obtained in kills.

“It was a very tough match for us,” opposite Gabi Garcia reacted. “We had a chance to fight back in the third set, but unfortunately we couldn’t take it. I think Milano played at their usual level, we were the ones that were well above our standard tonight and at some point, that affected us from a mental standpoint.”