The second weekend of Italy's 2021/22 SuperLega Credem Banca will feature two matches reuniting teams that started the tournament on the right foot as Itas Trentino clash with Tonno Callipo Calabria Vibo Valentia while defending champions Cucine Lube Civitanova face Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza.
Italian SuperLega Week 2 packed with exciting matches
The country’s top teams aim to build on opening day victories
Published 09:36, 15 Oct 2021
The match between Trentino and Vibo Valentia, on Sunday, at 20.30 CET/18.30 GMT, will feature an interesting duel involving two of the most explosive, young, left-handed hitters in international volleyball. While 19-year-old Italian Alessandro Michieletto briefly came off the bench to score two points in Trentino’s 3-0 victory over Verona Volley last weekend, 21-year-old Japanese opposite Yuji Nishida dropped 16 in his first match with Vibo Valentia, a 3-1 triumph against Gioiella Prisma Taranto, including three straight aces to end the match.
Trentino had a positive start to their season after making significant changes to the roster that took silver in the CEV Champions League earlier this year. While setter Riccardo Sbertoli had a positive performance in his first match, replacing fellow Italian national team member Simone Gianelli, legendary Bulgarian outside hitter Matey Kaziyski took home the MVP award after scoring 16 points in his first match back with Trentino in six years.
Vibo Valentia also have every reason to be excited about their new core after they saw Brazilian Rio 2016 Olympic champion outside hitters Douglas Souza and Mauricio Borges score 20 and 14 points, respectively. Another Brazilian also signed for the club this season, middle blocker Flavio Gualberto, and added seven points.
“We had a more than pleasant start in the League but are always working to be more precise,” head coach Valerio Baldovin said. “The focus is always on the next match and on trying to keep the right working mindset. It was fantastic playing in front of our fans on the road in the opening match and we expect a warm welcome back in our stadium on Sunday.”
Defending champions Lube also had a positive performance from their new lineup ahead of their match against Piacenza on Sunday at 15.30 CET/13.30 GMT. Two of the team’s new additions, Brazilian outside hitter Ricardo Lucarelli and Puerto Rican opposite Gabi Garcia, scored nine and six points against Kioene Padova, while team veterans Osmany Juantorena and Robertlandy Simon reached double digits with 13 and 11 points.
“Piacenza is a strong team and they will give us a hard time, but we want to win for our fans,” Simon said about the upcoming match. “We started the season well and working as a team helped us play so well. We need to keep playing that same way and will need everyone’s contribution this weekend.”
Piacenza also had their offensive load split by four players - all newcomers - in their 3-1 win over Consar RCM Ravenna. Turkish opposite Adis Lagumdzija (21), French outside hitter Thibault Rossard (15), Italian outside hitter Francisco Recine (12) and American middle blocker Max Holt (10) were the team’s top scorers.
The diversified playing patterns in both teams was a product of the elite-level talent Lube and Piacenza have in the setter position in Argentinean Luciano de Cecco and French Antoine Brizard. The two players will meet again for the first time since the semifinal of the Tokyo Olympics, when Brizard led France to the final and to gold and De Cecco captained Argentina to bronze.
Two other teams that will attempt to secure their second consecutive victories are Sir Safety Perugia, who play Verona Volley on Sunday at 18.00 CET/16.00 GMT and Vero Volley Monza, who go up against Allianz Milano on the same day and at the same time.
This weekend's matches start on Saturday, though, with Ravenna playing Taranto at 18.30 CET/16.30 GMT and Top Volley Cisterna hosting Padova two hours later.