Super Lega 2022 - News

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Trentino players celebrate their qualification to the semifinals of the Italian League

The silver medallists of last year’s FIVB Men’s Club World Championship, Itas Trentino are the first side guaranteed in the semifinals of the 2022-2023 SuperLega Credem Banca at the conclusion of the fourth leg of the semifinals on Sunday.

The team from Trento overcame Vero Volley Monza on Sunday to end their best-of-five quarterfinal series 3-1 and now waits for the conclusion of the duel between Valsa Group Modena and Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza, which is currently tied 2-2, to know their semifinal opponents.

On the other side of the bracket, both quarterfinal series remain open with Sir Safety Susa Perugia and Allianz Milano tied at 2-2 and Cucine Lube Civitanova and WithU Verona also even with only one more match to be played between them.

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Trentino had arguably the best performance in their quarterfinal series against Monza on Sunday, securing a straight-set (25-22, 25-20, 25-19) victory over their opponents on the road to advance to the semifinals of the SuperLega for a 15th-straight season.

Trentino’s offense was centered on three players against Monza, with Italian star outside hitter Alessandro Michieletto and Bulgarian veteran opposite Matey Kaziyski each tallying 12 points each and Italian world champion outside hitter Daniele Lavia adding 11.

“This was one of our best performances recently,” Lavia said. “This was a very important match and I'm very happy that we managed to win it. I'm also glad that we were the only ones to advance to the semifinals so far. I take it as a reward for our hard work and our desire to win. Our campaign hasn't been as steady as we would have wanted, but we can play well.”

The match’s top scorer was Monza’s German opposite György Grozer, who registered 14 points (11 kills, two aces, one block). Outside hitters Stephen Maar and Uladzislau Davyskiba had 11 points each.

The last team to earn their spot in the quarterfinals, Milano are the only team to beat regular season winners Perugia in the Italian League this season and they have now done it twice, topping the reigning world champions in the tie-breaker (25-15, 19-25, 19-25, 28-26, 15-13) in front of their home fans on Sunday.

Milano’s outside hitter duo of Osniel Melgarejo and Yuki Ishikawa was huge for them, with the high-flying Cuban tallying a match-high 22 points (19 kills, two aces, one block) and the Japanese superstar adding another 18 (16 kills, two blocks). French Olympic champion opposite Jean Patry also reached double digits in scoring, leaving the court with 15 points (12 kills, two aces, one block).

“Playing in this match and winning it was very special,” middle blocker Matteo Piano commented. “Our service was a little inconsistent during the match, but it worked well in the fifth set and that was important because Perugia were playing really well. It was great winning in front of our fans and we’re happy that got ourselves another chance.”

Perugia’s star outside hitter Wilfredo Leon tied Melgarejo as the match’s top scorer as the Polish international also produced 22 points (15 kills, five aces, two blocks), three more than Cuban opposite Jaime Herrera, who added 19 with 16 kills, two aces and one block.

The series between Verona and Lube will be decided on the fifth match between the teams too after the defending champions came back from a 2-0 deficit in the best-of-five series to take it back to Civitanova with a 3-1 (20-25, 25-23, 28-26, 26-24) victory on the road on Saturday.

Bulgarian rising star Aleksandar Nikolov was again a key player for Lube as the 19-year-old led the team’s scoring efforts with 22 points, earned with 14 kills and impressive eight aces. Italian opposite Ivan Zaytsev and Cuban outside hitter Marlon Yant also had productive performances, with 17 points each.

“We had a really solid performance on the court, but, above anything, we were very strong mentally,” Zaytsev commented. “Both teams knew how important it would be to win this match and there were so many lead changes during the set. We’ll be back at home for match five and I expect an amazing atmosphere.”

Verona’s Malian outside hitter Noumory Keita was the match’s top scorer with 25 points after he tallied 20 kills, three blocks and two aces. Russian opposite Maksim Sapozhkov had a high-scoring performance too, with 21 points (18 kills, one ace, two blocks).

Piacenza, who as Lube were down 2-0 at the start of the series, have also managed to level the playing field, getting back-to-back wins over Modena. Back at home on Sunday, the reigning Coppa Italia champions swept (25-21, 25-20, 25-21) their opponents and confirmed the fifth match between the team for next week.

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Brazilians Leal and Lucarelli played a big role in Piacenza's victory

Piacenza’s Brazilian outside hitter duo of Ricardo Lucarelli and Yoandy Leal split the team’s scoring efforts, with each of them leaving the court with 14 points. Cuban middle blocker Robertlandy Simon tallied nine points (six kills, two aces, one block).

“We played a great match and put our opponents under pressure since the start,” Lucarelli reflected. “But we haven’t done anything yet. The series is now even again and match five will truly be a final for us. I felt our defensive system has really stepped up during the last two matches and that helped us.”

Turkish opposite Adis Lagumdzija was Modena’s top scorer with 13 points (11 kills, one ace, one block), followed by French star outside hitter Earvin Ngapeth, who had ten points, all in kills.