Super Lega 2022 - News

Cisterna Piacenza

Aidan Zingel hit during the match between Cisterna and Piacenza in the first leg of the season

With only two more weekends of play before the end of the regular season, the 2022-2023 SuperLega Credem Banca has already determined six of the eight teams that will compete in the Italian League’s playoffs, but three teams remain in contention for the two remaining spots.

Seventh-placed Vero Volley Monza (28 points, nine wins), eight-placed Allianz Milano (27 points, nine wins) and ninth-placed Top Volley Cisterna (23 points, seven wins) will all have critical matches this weekend in the tenth round of the second leg of the season as they try to book their places in the elimination rounds.

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Cisterna’s situation is by far the most complicated among the three as the team from Latina will need victories in both of their last matches to have a chance of overcoming at least one of Monza or Milano and make it to the postseason for a second-straight year.

Their task becomes even more complicated due to the fact that their opponents on Saturday, at 18:00 local time (17:00 UTC), will be the recently-crowned Coppa Italia champions Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza, who seem to be playing their volleyball in the season after back-to-back straight-set victories against league leaders Sir Safety Susa Perugia and third-placed Itas Trentino last week.

“Piacenza will be in great form to face us after their victory at the Coppa Italia,” Cisterna’s middle blocker Andrea Mattei reflected. “They will for sure be a completely different team in comparison to the one we played (lost 3-0) in the first leg. But we’ll try to do our best in front of our fans and take advantage of the opportunities that the match presents us. Our situation in the standings is not great and that makes us feel bad, because we feel we deserve to be in the playoffs. It’s a very difficult goal at this point, but we’ll believe and keep fighting until the end.”

Cisterna lay their main hopes in the decisive match on opposite Petar Dirlić. In his second season with the team, the 25-year-old Croatian has been excellent since the start of the team’s campaign and is the SuperLega’s top scorer with 383 points – he had 20 or more points in ten of his 20 matches in the season.

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Ranked one position above Cisterna, Milano will also be on the court on Saturday at 18:00 local time (17:00 UTC), when they face defending champions Cucine Lube Civitanova on the road. Any win will secure Milano’s spot in the postseason as they would be guaranteed to finish the regular season above Cisterna.

Milano defeated Lube once this season, in the quarterfinals of the Coppa Italia, back in December, but enter the match having lost four of their last five games while their opponents are currently on a three-match winning streak.

Monza will only get on the court on Sunday, at 18:00 local time (17:00 UTC), but they will also have a tough opponent across the net in second-placed Valsa Group Modena. As with Milano, a victory would also guarantee the team in the playoffs, and it could also put them in a good position to challenge fifth-placed WithU Verona and sixth-placed Piacenza, which both have 31 points.

Two of the other matches of the weekend will also be played on Sunday at 18:00 local time (17:00 UTC), with tenth-placed Pallavolo Padova, which are still trying to avoid relegation, facing Trentino and Gioiella Prisma Taranto, another side threatened by possibility of playing in the country’s second division next season, meeting Perugia.

The sixth and final match of the weekend will reunite Verona and 12th-placed Emma Villas Aubay Siena, who desperately need a win to try to move away from the bottom of the standings ahead of the final day of the regular season.