Robertlandy Simon fires between the arms of Wilfredo Leon and Sebastian Sole (source: legavolley.it)

Robertlandy Simon fires between the arms of Wilfredo Leon and Sebastian Sole

Cucine Lube Civitanova moved to within a win of defending their SuperLega Credem Banca title in Italy, as they grabbed a second victory in the championship playoff against Sir Safety Conad Perugia on Wednesday. With the best-of-five series now going back to Perugia for the third match on Sunday (May 8, 18:00 local time), the regular season winners are in a must-win situation if they want to keep their chances of dethroning Robertlandy Simon and his teammates alive.

All SuperLega matches are available LIVE on Volleyball TV.

Wednesday’s second match offered a hard-fought battle throughout, but hosts Lube managed to get the job done in straight sets. The second set proved the tightest. First, Lube recovered from a four-point deficit. Then Perugia denied four Lube set points before succumbing at the fifth.

Middle blocker Robertlandy Simon was once again Lube’s top scorer. The Cuban star delivered two aces and two blocks and spiked at a 67% success rate to tally a 16-point contribution to the 3-0 (25-21, 29-27, 25-22) victory and earn the MVP award. The two outside hitters, Brazil’s Ricardo Lucarelli and Cuba’s Marlon Yant added 12 points apiece, while Italian opposite Ivan Zaytsev shone from the serving line with four aces.

“We have not won anything yet! We know that it will be even tougher in Perugia and we are aware that they will play even better at home. We must continue to maintain our level. It was important to win in front of this crowd. It's nice to see a full arena, the best thing for a player. Now we head to Perugia and let's move on!” Robertlandy Simon, middle blocker of Cucine Lube Civitanova

Lube v Perugia: Top Scorer Robertlandy Simon

Perugia’s Luxembourgish opposite Kamil Rychlicki produced the match high of 17 points (2 aces, 68% success in attack), with Cuban-born Polish captain Wilfredo Leon and American star Matthew Anderson also scoring in double digits, 12 and 10 points, respectively.

“Now we have to reset everything. The next match is at home and we have to take it to game four. It is up to us to regroup, believe in the final victory, return to Perugia and look for our best volleyball...” Nikola Grbic, head coach of Sir Safety Conad Perugia

Lube v Perugia: Top Plays

Meanwhile, the race for the fifth place in the standings will continue with the two semifinal matches set to take place on Saturday. Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza will welcome Verona Volley while Top Volley Cisterna entertain Vero Volley Monza, starting at 20:30 local time, with the two winners locking horns the following Friday for the right to represent Italy in next season’s European Cups.

In Tuesday’s matches - the last leg of the single round robin - Verona snatched the last spot in the semis after a 3-2 (26-24, 16-25, 25-22, 20-25, 19-17) battle in Cisterna, on a 29-point match high by Danish opposite Mads Kyed Jensen. They finished fourth on a 2-3 win-loss record and 6 points and beat Allianz Milano to the semifinals on set ratio. Milano failed to take advantage of the home-court factor in their last match and Piacenza knocked them out with a 3-1 (20-25, 29-27, 25-23, 25-19) defeat to top the final table unbeaten in five games with 14 points, four clear of second-placed Cisterna (3-2). Turkish opposite Adis Lagumdzija was the top scorer of the match on 23 points for the winners. Monza finished third on 3-2 and 9 points after a 3-0 (25-23, 25-23, 25-23) shutout of winless Gioiella Prisma Taranto at home, with Belarusian outside Uladzislau Davyskiba leading the way with 17 points.

Cisterna v Verona: Top Plays

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