Competition for the last spot in the playoffs of the 2022-2023 SuperLega Credem Banca will continue until the final weekend of the regular season as two teams remain in the hunt for a berth in the postseason after the conclusion of the tenth round of the second leg of the season this weekend.
Cisterna score big win and maintain SuperLega playoff hopes
The team from Latina downed Coppa Italia champions Piacenza and can still catch Milano and make it to the postseason
Published 11:02, 06 Mar 2023
While seventh-placed Vero Volley Monza (30 points, ten wins) were able to secure their presence among the eight teams that will compete in the postseason in Italy, eighth-placed Allianz Milano (27 points, nine wins) and ninth-placed Top Volley Cisterna (26 points, eight wins) will need to wait for another seven days to find out which of them will also be in the playoffs.
Cisterna had the deck stacked against them entering the weekend as only a victory would keep their playoff hopes alive and they were set to face one of the hottest teams in the country in recently-crowned Coppa Italia champions Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza.
The team from Latina had possibly its best performance in the season, defeated Piacenza in three sets (25-18, 25-18, 25-20) in front of their home fans and significantly improved their situation heading into the final weekend of the regular season.
“We’re very happy with this result because we knew we needed it in order to keep fighting for a spot in the playoffs,” outside hitter Matteo Staforini reflected. “We knew Piacenza had played two fantastic matches at the Coppa Italia last weekend, but we prepared in the best way we could and made no mistakes. We’ll head into the last weekend with more confidence and we’ll see what happens then.”
Croatian outside hitter Marko Sedlaček was Cisterna’s top scorer in the match with 14 points (13 kills, one ace). Croatian opposite Petar Dirlić and Turkish outside hitter Efe Bayram, who fired five aces and was the match’s Most Valuable Player, added 13 each for the winners.
A 2022 world champion, Piancenza’s opposite Yuri Romanó led all scorers with 15 points (12 kills, three aces). Brazilian outside hitter Yoandy Leal, the MVP of the Coppa Italia final, added eight with six kills, one block and one ace.
Besides winning their match, Cisterna also benefited from a defeat from Milano, who had a big hurdle to overcome in their match against third-placed Cucine Lube Civitanova as the team had several players unavailable for selection. Playing in front of their fans, the defending champions gave them no chance, winning in three sets (25-22, 25-15, 25-12) with 15 points from star opposite Ivan Zaytsev.
Monza, who also needed a win to secure a spot in the playoffs, delivered against Valsa Group Modena on the road. The team was on the winning side of a rollercoaster of a match, taking the second-placed team in the Italian League down in five sets (25-23, 25-18, 28-30, 18-25, 18-16).
Monza’s duo formed by outside hitter Stephen Maar and opposite György Grozer carried the team’s offense, with the Canadian producing 27 points (23 kills, two blocks, two aces) and the German adding another 24 (18 kills, three blocks, three aces). The top scorer of the encounter was Modena’s Turkish opposite Adis Lagumdzija, who left the court with 33 points (26 kills, six aces, one block).
“We were excellent in the first two sets, but lacked concentration and accuracy in the next two and saw Modena eliminate our advantage,” Grozer analysed. “Fortunately, we were able to find our best game again in the tie-breaker and take the win. I’m proud of the team and that we stuck together and secured these precious two points that secure our presence in the playoffs.”
Next weekend, in the final round of the regular season, Cisterna will face WithU Verona on the road while Milano will host Gioiella Prisma Taranto.
The fight to avoid relegation also remains undefined with 11th-placed Taranto (16 points, five wins) and 12th-placed Emma Villas Aubay Siena (15 points, five wins) still threatened by the possibility of competing in the country’s second division in 2023-2024. While Taranto will play Milano next week, Siena will also be on the road, against Monza.