Defending champions Cucine Lube Civitanova and 2021 runners-up Sir Safety Conad Perugia made an emphatic start to the 2021-22 Italian Credem Banca Superleague and have taken a very early lead in the standings of arguably the top men's domestic volleyball league in the world which kicked off its new season over the weekend.
Lube, Perugia in emphatic start of men's season in Italy
Last year's top sides open their 2021-22 campaigns in the men's League with solid wins
Published 08:35, 10 Oct 2021
Admittedly, the two favourites were up against lesser opponents on the opening day, but for Lube Robertlandy Simon of Cuba was there with a sparkling performance of 11 points, including 5/6 in attack for 83%, plus three blocks and three aces to lead the side to a 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-19) away win over Kioene Padova.
The 34-year-old middle blocker was complemented by top scorer of the game, Cuba-born Italian international Osmany Juantorena who contributed 13 points and attacked for 63% (16/10).
But it was the playmaking of Luciano de Cecco that made the difference in the game, earning the Argentina international setter the MVP of the match award.
At the PalaBarton in Perugia, meanwhile, the MVP award of the match was being picked up by USA's Matt Anderson in his first offical match for his new side - not least for his contribution in reception as Perugia shut out Top Volley Cisterna 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-23).
Poland's Cuba-born Wilfredo Leon was Perugia's top scorer on 12 points - though the match high of 17 came from Cisterna's Arthur Swarc of Canada.
But further down the table there was a bit more drama, as Vero Volley Monza came back from a set down to beat Leo Shoes PerkinElmer Modena 3-1 (24-26, 25-23, 28-26, 25-20).
A match high of 21 points (including four aces) by Georg Grozer was good enough for the German to pick up the MVP of the match award.
Modena could have taken the lead for the second time when they rallied from 24-22 down in the third, but failed to convert two set points before Monza finished it off on the third overall try of their own - and then went on to dominate the fourth.
In other opening day action, Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza fended off Consar RCM Ravenna's attempts at forcing a tie-break, wrapping up the match in four at 3-1 (25-17, 25-17, 19-25, 27-25) on the back of a match high 21 points (including 5 blocks) by Turkey's Adis Lagumdzija and n MVP of the match performance by France setter Antoine Brizard.
Elsewhere, Tonno Callpio Calabria Vibo Valentia were challenged by newly-promoted Gioiella Prisma Taranto, but Japan's Yuji Nishida took it upon himself to make sure his new side finished the match in four, as he spectacularly hammered three back-to-back aces to end the fourth for a 3-1 (25-19, 25-17, 22-25, 25-20) win.
Round 1 of the Regular Season concludes on Tuesday, when Itas Trentino host Verona Volley. Competition continues next weekend with Round 2. All matches are available to watch live and on demand on VolleyballWorld.tv.