Lube’s Zaytsev and Anzani on the block against Trentino’s Michieletto

Lube’s Zaytsev and Anzani on the block against Trentino’s Michieletto

Italy's success at the 2022 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship earlier this month, is, of course, still echoing in the southern European country, but it is also time to turn the spotlight back on the SuperLega Credem Banca. The 78th season of Italy’s national league, arguably the best in the world, is set to begin on October 1.

It will be the second SuperLega season with all matches streamed live on Volleyball TV, offering easy access for volleyball fans around the world. Matches will be broadcast with commentary in English and Italian with a selection of matches also available in Japanese.

2022 champions Cucine Lube Civitanova will lead the line-up of 12 teams in the race for 2023 SuperLega Credem Banca honours, which also includes Allianz Milano, Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza, Gioiella Prisma Taranto, Itas Trentino, Modena Volley, Pallavolo Padova, Sir Safety Susa Perugia, Top Volley Cisterna, Vero Volley Monza, WithU Verona and rookies Emma Villas Aubay Siena.

On October 1, at 19:00 local time, Lube will play at Gioiella Prisma Taranto in the new season opener. They will chase the defence of their title with a stellar roster, once again led by Italian star opposite Ivan Zaytsev and featuring recently crowned world champions Fabio Balaso, Simone Anzani and Mattia Bottolo. Italian players at the club will be joined by the likes of Argentinean setter Luciano De Cecco, Cuban outside hitter Marlon Yant and Puerto Rican opposite Gabriel Garcia. New players at the club will include Olympic champion Barthelemy Chinenyeze of France, Brazilian middle blocker Isac Santos and Bulgarian rising star Aleksandar Nikolov.

2022 SuperLega final Lube vs. Perugia highlights

Last season’s silver medallists and Coppa Italia winners Sir Safety Conad Perugia will now compete under a slightly modified name, Sir Safety Susa Perugia. Under the guidance of legendary coach Andrea Anastasi, who has replaced Serbia’s Nikola Grbic, they will try to reclaim the national title after losing three consecutive finals. Perugia’s 2022-2023 roster is packed with top-level players, led by World Championship MVP Simone Giannelli. Another world champ with Italy, Roberto Russo is also on the squad. Other players to look out for include last season’s top scorer and best server Wilfredo Leon, his Polish compatriot Kamil Semeniuk, Brazil’s Flavio Gualberto, Slovenia’s Gregor Ropret, Ukraine’s Oleh Plotnytskyi and many others.

2021/22 SuperLega bronze medallists, Supercoppa winners and Champions League runners-up Itas Trentino will rely on the same core as last season – Bulgarian star Matey Kaziyski, Serbian middles Srecko Lisinac and Marko Podrascanin, and three Italians from the world champions’ line-up – setter Riccardo Sbertoli, opposite Daniele Lavia and outside Alessandro Michieletto (who was also named last season’s best Italian U23 player in the league).

There will be a lot of top-level players featured by the other clubs in the league too. France’s Earvin Ngapeth, MVP of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and Brazil’s Bruno Rezende will lead Modena again. The team from Piacenza have announced their ambitions for the season by signing Brazilians Riccardo Lucarelli and Yoandy Leal, last year’s SuperLega MVP Robertandy Simon of Cuba and world champion opposite Yuri Romano, while holding on to Olympic champion setter Antoine Brizard of France. With athletes like France’s Jean Patry, Argentina’s Agustin Loser, Japan’s Yuki Ishikawa, Iran’s Milad Ebadipour and Italy’s Matteo Piano, Allianz Milano will also aim high this season.

At Vero Volley Monza, German standout Gyorgy Grozer will again power the offence, now in the company of Canada’s Stephen Maar and directed by Brazilian playmaker Fernando Kreling. With rising Slovenian star Rok Mozic staying on and Malian scoring machine Noumory Keita joining the team, Verona should have few issues in delivering a good number of points. Padova have kept their Japanese star Ran Takahashi and added Serbia’s Dusan Petkovic, Bulgaria’s Asparuh Asparuhov and Germany’s Julian Zenger to their roster, while the newcomers from Siena have been joined by opposite Giulio Pinali of the Italian World Championship squad, Serbia captain Nemanja Petric and Dutch outside Maarten Van Garderen.

The regular season of the 2022/23 SuperLega is set to last through March 12, 2023. It will feature a total of 132 matches, spread across 22 legs of six matches in a double round-robin (home and away) format. The teams will be ranked by the number of points collected (three for a 3-0 or a 3-1 win, two for a 3-2 win and one for a 3-2 loss). Should a tie persist, matches won, set ratio and point ratio, in that order, will determine the ranking.

At the end of the regular season, the top six teams will advance directly to the quarterfinal playoffs. Those placed from seventh to 10th will enter the playoff duels for the remaining two spots in the quarterfinals. The two bottom-ranked teams will be relegated.