Itas Trentino's Matey Kaziyski is next in our series on the top players in the SuperLega Credem Banca. His club take on leaders Sir Safety Susa Perugia at 16:30 local time (15:30 UTC) on Sunday, and you can watch all the action on Volleyball TV. Click on the following links to read about Alessandro Michieletto, Yuki Ishikawa and Luciano De Cecco.
The Emperor shows no signs of slowing down
At the age of 38, Bulgarian star Matey Kaziyski is currently the top scorer in the SuperLega
Published 10:00, 15 Nov 2022
This season is special for Trentino’s team captain Matey Kaziyski (Click here for Kaziyski's current SuperLega statistics). Traditionally an outside hitter, and now in his 13th SuperLega season, he has switched positions with Daniele Lavia to play as an opposite. The 2.03m-tall Bulgarian leads the league’s best scorers’ chart on a total of 171 points, hammered out across eight matches played, and stands 23 points clear at the top of the ranking. He is also the league's best attacker on a total of 153 points and one of the best servers with 12 aces. On Sunday, he will lead his teammates in a top-of-the-table clash against the only undefeated team in the league, Simone Giannelli's Sir Safety Susa Perugia.
“I am very motivated, as I have always been in the previous nine seasons that I spent in Trento. As an opposite it takes me a while to warm up, but then during the match it gets better and better. The whole team is pushing hard in the gym and there is a strong desire to grow further. As always there is a lot to improve, but we are on the right track.” Matey Kaziyski, opposite and captain of Itas Trentino
Matey’s amazing volleyball talent was spotted early into his playing career in his native Bulgaria. He started off at Slaviya Sofia and claimed the national cup trophy and a national championship silver when he was only 14. In 2003, he earned bronze at the FIVB Volleyball U21 Men’s World Championship with Bulgaria's junior squad, was the best spiker of the tournament and also starred for the senior national team.
Until his withdrawal from the national team in 2012, Matey Kaziyski contributed to three bronze medals, firstly at the 2006 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship, then at the 2007 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Cup and at the 2009 CEV Men’s European Championship. He played at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and helped the Lions qualify for London 2012. Kaziyski also claimed several individual honours, including Best Server of the 2006 World Championship, Best Spiker of the 2006 FIVB Volleyball World League and Best Server of the 2004 World League. He enjoyed an iconic status in his country and in 2010 was voted Bulgaria’s Man of the Year.
The Bulgarian star has been even more successful at a club level and has become one of the most decorated players in international club volleyball. Having played at Slaviya and LukOil Neftohimik Burgas, he made his first international transfer in 2005, joining Dinamo Moscow for two seasons. With the Russian powerhouse, he won both the national championship title and the national cup trophy, as well as a bronze and a fourth place in the CEV Champions League.
Paired up with his Bulgarian coach and mentor Radostin Stoychev, Kaziyski moved to Trentino in 2007 and was the catalyst for a period of unprecedented glory for the Italian club. His first of four periods with the team lasted six seasons and brought in four FIVB Volleyball Club World Championship titles, three Champions League continental trophies and a bronze, six Italian SuperLega podiums, including three gold and three silver medals, four Coppa Italia finals, including three trophies, and four Supercoppa Italiana finals, including one trophy. The fans nicknamed him The Emperor.
Kaziyski returned to Trentino for the 2014-2015 season, then again during the 2015-2016 season, and he is now in his fourth period with the club, after returning in 2021. He has also added several more podiums to his impressive showcase: a Club World Championship bronze, two Champions League silvers, a CEV Cup silver, a gold and a bronze in the Italian league, three silvers in the Italy Cup and a full set of hardware in the Italy Super Cup.
When not playing for Trentino, Kaziyski also competed for Türkiye’s Halkbank Ankara (Champions League silver and domestic golden treble), Qatar’s Al-Rayyan (Club World Championship silver and national champions’ title), Japan’s JTEKT Stings Kariya (national champions’ title), Poland’s Stocznia Szczecin and Italy’s NBV Verona.
Throughout his club career, the Bulgarian player picked up numerous individual prizes. The two that stand out the most are the MVP awards at the 2009 Club World Championship and the 2009 Champions League. Most recently, Kaziyski was named MVP of last year’s Supercoppa Italiana.
Along with the SuperLega, where Trentino are currently second on a 5-3 win-loss record and 16 points, five short of Perugia (7-0), Kaziyski and his teammates will also take part in December’s Club World Championship in Brazil, the Champions League's 2022-2023 season and, of course, the race for Coppa Italia. They have already claimed their first medal of the season, taking the Supercoppa bronze earlier this month.
“Matey Kaziyski is a great example, not only for what he does on the court, but also for everything he represents for the locker room, the fans and the club.” Oreste Cavuto, outside hitter of Itas Trentino
On Sunday, Kaziyski and his teammates travel to SuperLega leaders Perugia. They enter the match on a strong run of four victories in the league, including last weekend's straight-set win over Gioiella Prisma Taranto. The encounter will certainly be a test of Trentino's capacity to challenge the league leaders and a three-point win would cut Perugia's lead to just two points. A victory for Perugia, on the other hand, would strengthen the position Giannalli and co. enjoy at the top of the standings. Watch the action as it unfolds on Volleyball TV.