The 2022-2023 season in Italy’s top domestic league, the SuperLega Credem Banca, will get underway on the first day of October. For the second year running, all the action will be available live and on demand on Volleyball TV. Matches will be broadcast with commentary in English and Italian, with a selection of matches also available in Japanese.
Get to know the SuperLega’s 12 teams
Watch the entire new season LIVE on Volleyball TV as of Saturday
Published 07:00, 28 Sep 2022
To get ready for the new season, here is a look at the 12 clubs lining up to compete.
Allianz Milano have played in the SuperLega since the 2014-2015 season, but are yet to win a medal. Last season, the team from Milan finished the regular season in fifth place, but then dropped to ninth after the playoffs, completing the season with a 15-16 win-loss record. They qualified for their first-ever Coppa Italia semifinal. The previous season Allianz Milano claimed their first continental trophy, the 2021 CEV Challenge Cup.
Tokyo 2020 Olympic champion Jean Patry of France, Japanese star Yuki Ishikawa and last season’s best blocker of the SuperLega, former Italian international Matteo Piano are among Milano’s key players staying with the team this season. Middle blocker Agustin Loser of Argentina and outside hitters Milad Ebadipour of Iran and Osniel Mergarejo of Cuba are the most notable new additions for 2022/23.
Cucine Lube Civitanova
Cucine Lube Civitanova are not only the defending SuperLega champions, but also one of the world’s most decorated clubs. Their trophy collection features one FIVB Volleyball Men's Club World Championship title, two CEV Champions League titles, four CEV Challenge Cup trophies, seven national championship titles (including the three most recent), seven Coppa Italia and four Supercoppa Italiana trophies. Last season, Lube finished as SuperLega regular season runners-up on a 19-5 win-loss record. They then progressed successfully through the three playoff rounds (on 8-3) to claim the title. They also reached the final of the Club World Championship to take silver.
Lube’s 2022-2023 roster includes as many as three recently crowned world champions – Italy libero Fabio Balaso, middle blocker Simone Anzani and outside hitter Mattia Bottolo. The club have also retained several of their international stars, including Argentinean setter Luciano De Cecco, Italian opposite Ivan Zaytsev, Cuban outside Marlon Yant and Puerto Rican opposite Gabriel Garcia. They have also recruited French middle Barthelemy Chinenyeze, who was a Tokyo 2020 Olympic champ and Dream Teamer, Brazilian middle Isac Santos and Bulgarian outside Aleksandar Nikolov.
Emma Villas Aubay Siena
Emma Villas Aubay Siena will compete in the SuperLega for the second time, after spending a season in the top division back in 2018-2019. In 2021-2022, they finished ninth in the second division regular season on a 10-14 win-loss record, just short of making the playoffs. Eventually, however, they took over the SuperLega licence earned by Serie A2 champions Conad Reggio Emilia to return among the country’s elite.
To be able to compete with the strongest Italian teams, Siena have signed world champion opposite Giulio Pinali, the captain of the Serbian national team, outside Nemanja Petric, and Dutch international outside Maarten Van Garderen.
Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza
The Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza club was founded in 2018 to take the place of another club from the city of Piacenza, with a glorious past. The new team played their first season in Serie A2 and immediately earned promotion to the SuperLega. 2021-2022 was their third season in the elite division. They took sixth place in the regular season standings on 12-12, then pushed Itas Trentino Trento to a third-match decider before being eliminated in the quarterfinal playoffs. In the race for the fifth place in the final season standings, the Wolves won their seven matches to earn the right to compete in the European Cups this season. They also reached the Coppa Italia semifinals.
The expectations for the upcoming season are raised by the incoming transfers of three of the world’s best players – Brazilian outside hitters Yoandy Leal and Riccardo Lucarelli, and Cuban middle Robertlandy Simon, who claimed the SuperLega MVP award last season. Rising star Yuri Romano, one of the key players in Italy’s World Championship success a few days ago, is another new addition to Piacenza’s squad. Playmaker Antoine Brizard, an Olympic champion with France, will continue to set for the team.
Gioiella Prisma Taranto
Gioiella Prisma Taranto will be playing their ninth season in the SuperLega. Their best result so far was the seventh place in the regular season they took back in 2006-2007. After a 10-year-absence from the volleyball courts, the club returned to action in the Serie A2 2020-2021 season and immediately earned promotion to the SuperLega. In 2021-2022, they finished the regular season in 10th place on an 8-16 win-loss record and then failed to win any of their five matches in the race for the fifth place in the final standings.
35-year-old setter Marco Falaschi, an Italian international and a 2021 national champion with Lube, will be the most experienced player on Taranto’s squad. 34-year-old Italian outside Oleg Antonov, a Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist, has also joined the team. 24-year-old Canadian international outside Eric Loeppky, on the other hand, will be the most experienced foreign athlete in the team roster.
Itas Trentino Trento
With as many as five Club World Championship crowns, three Champions League gold medals, one CEV Cup trophy, four national titles, three national cups and three national super cups, Itas Trentino Trento are arguably the most decorated Italian club in history. Last season, they reached the continental Champions League final for the second time in a row, triumphed in the Supercoppa Italiana, took silver in Coppa Italia and bronze in the SuperLega. Trentino finished the regular season in third place on 17-7 and defeated Piacenza in the quarterfinal series by two wins to one. In their best-of-five semifinal playoff against Lube, they won the first two matches and were only a win away from the final before their opponents took three back-to-back victories to end Trentino’s campaign.
Trentino’s typical starting seven this season should be almost the same as in 2021-2022, with the only exception in the libero position. The remaining six – setter Riccardo Sbertoli, opposite Daniele Lavia and outside Alessandro Michieletto, all three returning from the 2022 World Championship with gold, Serbian middle blockers Srecko Lisinac and Marko Podrascanin and Bulgarian outside Matey Kaziyski – have stayed on with the club. New additions Gabriele Nelly of Italy and Donovan Dzavoronok of Czechia will also provide solid options in offence.
Modena Volley are also one of Italy’s most decorated clubs, certainly domestically. Their showcase includes 12 national titles, 12 national cups and four national super cups. They were four-time European club champions, in addition to winning another nine trophies from various continental competitions. In 2021-2022, they won 18 of their 24 regular season games to finish fourth. Then, in the quarterfinal playoffs, they knocked out Allianz Milano in two matches, but failed to convert the one-win leads they had twice in their semifinal series against Sir Safety Conad Perugia and dropped out of contention after losing the deciding fifth match.
Modena’s stellar squad from last year has undergone some changes, but their Brazilian playmaker Bruno Rezende, French outside Earvin Ngapeth, MVP of the Tokyo 2022 Olympics, and experienced middle Dragan Stankovic have stayed on. Their new additions include Turkish scoring machine Adis Lagumdzija, German middle Tobias Krick, both towering at 2.11m, as well as former junior international Tommaso Rinaldi of Italy, MVP of the 2019 FIVB U19 World Championship.
Pallavolo Padova have been in and out of Italy’s top-level division since the early 1970s, but they have never won a championship medal. Their best results were the fourth places in seasons 1974-1975 and 1989-1990. However, they have a continental trophy on their shelf, the 1994 CEV Cup. Last season, Padova finished in 11th place on 9-15, just above the relegation line.
Rising Japanese star Ran Takahashi, who joined the club from Padua in late November last year, is staying with the team, joined by four new foreign athletes – Serbian opposite Dusan Petkovic, Bulgarian outside Asparuh Asparuhov, German libero Julian Zenger and Belgian outside Mathijs Desmet.
Sir Safety Susa Perugia
Competing in the SuperLega since 2012, the club from Perugia quickly became a key contender in the battles for trophies and medals. They have played in six of the last eight championship finals, but managed to win the title only once, in 2018. They have also picked up three Coppa Italia (including the last one in 2022) and three Supercoppa Italiana trophies. Perugia’s stellar squad were the big favourites for the SuperLega title last year, especially after winning the regular season on an impressive 22-2 win-loss record and 10 points clear of Lube at the top of the standings. They went unbeaten through their quarterfinal series against Top Volley Cisterna, but had to come back twice from a win down before they could celebrate with the final victory in their semifinal against Modena. In the final, however, Perugia won only one of four games against Lube and had to settle for silver for the third consecutive time.
Despite some important departures, Perugia seem to have built up a roster which is even more impressive than the one they had last season. Under legendary coach Andrea Anastasi, who has replaced Serbia’s Nikola Grbic at the helm of the team, the team will try to finally return to the throne with the services of 2022 World Championship MVP and Dream Team setter Simone Giannelli, backed up in the playmaker position by Slovenian international Gregor Ropret. Luxembourg’s Kamil Rychlicki and new Cuban addition Jesus Herrera will compete for the role of main opposite. Anastasi will have plenty of excellent outside hitters to choose from, like Cuban-born Polish star Wilfredo Leon, his Polish compatriot Kamil Semeniuk, Ukrainian ace machine Oleh Plotnytskyi and another Cuban, Julio Cesar Cardenas. Recently crowned world champion Roberto Russo, Brazil’s Flavio Gualberto, Argentina’s Sebastian Sole and Italy’s Stefano Mengozzi are the middle blockers on the squad, while experienced 37-year-old Massimo Colaci and 25-year-old Alessandro Piccinelli, both former Italian national team liberos, will take care of reception and defence.
Top Volley Cisterna
Top Volley Cisterna have been SuperLega regulars since 2001, with the 2008-2009 season marking their only absence. They achieved their best result, sixth place in the regular season, three times (2002-2003, 2003-2004 and 2014-2015). They have reached two continental finals (2013 CEV Cup and 2014 Challenge Cup) as well as three Coppa Italia semifinals. After 10 wins and 14 defeats in the last SuperLega regular season, they finished eighth to book the last ticket to the playoffs. After losing twice to Perugia in the quarterfinals, Cisterna claimed four wins in six matches in the race for the European Cups quota, before reaching the final for the fifth place, but losing it to Piacenza.
Both aged 33, middle blocker Andrea Rossi and setter Michele Baranowicz will be the most experienced players in Cisterna’s roster this season. Their foreign teammates include Croatia’s Petar Dirlic and Marko Sedlacek, Australia’s Aidan Zingel, Cuba’s Jose Miguel Gutierrez and Türkiye’s Efe Bayram.
Vero Volley Monza
In what was their best season ever, Vero Volley Monza won the 2022 CEV Cup trophy and reached the final of Supercoppa Italiana. The club’s best achievement until then was a Challenge Cup silver in 2019. Monza have been competing in the SuperLega since 2014 and earned their best result in 2020-2021 when they reached the semifinal playoffs for the first time. Last year, they finished the regular season in seventh place on 11-13 and, after being eliminated by Lube in the quarterfinals, participated in the battles for fifth place and won three of six matches played.
Vero Volley enter the new season with a strong line-up of players, led by Brazilian setter Fernando Kreling and German star opposite Gyorgy Grozer. World champion middle blocker Gianluca Galassi of Italy, Canadian internationals Stephen Maar and Arthur Szwarc and rising star Uladzislau Davyskiba of Belarus are among the other players to watch.
Verona Volley, who will compete under the name WithU Verona this season, was officially founded in June 2021, but as a successor of NBV Verona. They have a 2016 Challenge Cup trophy and a 2018 CEV Cup semifinal to brag about. They have been playing in Italy’s top flight on and off since 2002 and their best result was a fourth place in the 2015-2016 regular season. They also advanced to the Coppa Italia semifinals back in 2004-2005. After finishing ninth on 10-14 in the 2021-2022 regular season, they joined the race for the European Cups quota, in which they won two of six matches played.
Verona already had a high-scoring spiker in Slovenian star Rok Mozic and now they have added another in Malian opposite Noumory Keita, who made headlines by scoring over 50 points in several Korean league matches last season. They will be fed by 43-year-old Brazilian setter Raphael Oliveira and his 28-year-old Italian colleague Luca Spirito. A strong foreign line-up also includes Canada’s John Gordon Perrin, Bulgaria’s Aleks Grozdanov, Russia’s Maksim Sapozhkov and Denmark’s Mads Kyed Jensen. Middle blockers Leandro Mosca, a 2022 world champion, and Lorenzo Cortesia, a 2021 European champion, are among Verona’s domestic players to watch out for.