Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza mastered a 3-0 (25-19, 25-23, 25-20) shutout of Verona Volley in an Italian men’s league match on Thursday to leave the last remaining vacancy in the playoffs wide open to as many as five contenders, all of whom are still under the threat of relegation too.
Piacenza’s win over Verona leaves last playoff spot still wide open
Adis Lagumdzija top scorer and MVP
Published 08:15, 11 Mar 2022
Turkish international opposite Adis Lagumdzija produced the match high of 20 points (two aces, two blocks and 16 spikes at a 55% success rate in attack) and earned the MVP nomination as the hosts from Piacenza defeated their visitors from Verona in straight sets to improve to an 11-12 win-loss record and 34 points and jump over Vero Volley Monza into the sixth place of the standings with a match to go. The team from Monza, however, are on 11-11 and 31, and a game in hand, so which of the two clubs will end up in a more favourable position for the playoffs remains to be seen.
“It was an excellent performance that prepares us for the playoffs. We have one more match to decide our position and we will do our best to finish sixth. The high level of Perugia at Coppa Italia in Bologna gave us a great push to play at our best today. After a very long down period, we did well to put our best volleyball back on the court.” Damiano Catania, libero of Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza
The eighth place, which grants a ticket to the quarterfinals, is still occupied by Verona on 9-13 and 24 points. The 12th, which is just below the relegation line and sends its holder to the lower division next season, is currently taken by Kioene Padua on 8-14 and 21, with three teams – Top Volley Cisterna (24 points, 8-14 win-loss), Gioiella Prisma Taranto (23, 7-15) and Tonno Callipo Calabria Vibo Valentia (22, 7-15) – squeezed in between. With each of these five teams having two more games to play through the end of the regular season, anything is possible.
“The match was very tough. We knew that they would enter the field with great aggression and that their serves could put us in difficulty. Unfortunately, they did. We must leave this evening behind immediately and think about Saturday's challenge against Lube. We will be at home and I take this opportunity to call on all our fans: let's fill the stands because you are the extra player on the court. Together we are stronger and we can achieve great results!” Raphael Vieira De Oliveira, setter and captain of Verona Volley
The weekend’s SuperLega Credem Banca programme starts on Saturday with Verona hosting second-placed Cucine Lube Civitanova, and continues on Sunday with another five fixtures. As the two teams most threatened by possible relegation go against each other, the spotlight will fall on the game between Kioene Padua and Tonno Callipo Calabria Vibo Valentia, which could provide some answers, but could also deepen the uncertainty.