Verona week 2

Verona players celebrate their big home win against Trentino

WithU Verona continued their strong start to the 2022-2023 SuperLega Credem Banca as they downed one of the top sides in the country in the second week of play.

After starting their campaign with a 3-2 road win against Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza last weekend, Verona returned home on Saturday and won another five-setter (23-25, 27-25, 25-20, 28-30, 17-15), this time to stun reigning Italian Supercup winners and 2021 FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship bronze medallists Itas Trentino.

WithU Verona vs. Itas Trentino - Match Highlights

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Verona benefited from their interesting mix of experience and youth to upset Trentino, with 43-year-old Brazilian setter Raphael ‘Rapha’ Oliveira displaying great chemistry with 21-year-old opposite Maksim Sapozhkov and 20-year-old outside hitter Rok Možič.

A new addition to the team this season, the 2.20m-tall Russian was again Verona’s top scorer, improving on the 25 points he had scored against Piacenza for an impressive 39 (28 kills, eight blocks, three aces), while the Slovenian international added another 28 (23 kills, three blocks, two aces). The two combined to produce 67 of the 90 points registered by players in their team.

Top Scorer - Maksim Sapozhkov of Verona vs. Trentino

“This is an extraordinary result against a very strong opponent,” coach Radostin Stoychev said. “We did a great job in overcoming the difficult moments and taking advantage of the opportunities we had. I congratulate our players, but it’s just the beginning of the season, so we have to keep our heads down and continue to work hard all week. We have done nothing yet and there are plenty of difficult matches ahead of us. It’s a very balanced league and we can win or lose any match. We need to stay grounded and focused on what we need to improve.”

Bulgarian veteran Matey Kaziyski was Trentino’s top scorer with 28 points (all in kills), while Italian world champions Daniele Lavia and Alessandro Michieletto, who fired five aces, had 20 and 18, respectively.

Pallavolo Padova also caused a major upset on Sunday, when they claimed a 3-2 (25-23, 20-25, 20-25, 25-16, 15-12) road victory against defending champions Cucine Lube Civitanova. Padova’s Japan national team outside hitter Ran Takahashi led all scorers with 22 points (20 kills, two blocks), one more than Serbian opposite Dusan Petkovic, who tallied 19 kills and two aces. World champion outside hitter Mattia Bottolo registered 19 (14 kills, three blocks, two aces) for Lube.

Top Volley Cisterna also remained undefeated in the Italian League after they swept (25-20, 25-26, 28-26) Gioiella Prisma Taranto at home on Sunday. Croatian opposite Petar Dirlic was a key player in their victory with a match-high 24 points (21 kills, three blocks).

Cisterna currently share the top spot in the standings with Sir Safety Susa Perugia, who also have two wins and six points. Returning from a knee injury that kept him out of the 2022 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship, Polish star outside hitter Wilfredo Leon led Perugia's 3-1 (25-19, 20-25, 25-21, 25-19) road win over Emma Villas Aubay Siena with 21 points (15 kills, one block, five aces), one more than his Ukrainian teammate and fellow outside hitter Oleh Plotnytskyi. Serbian outside hitter Nemanja Petric scored 15 (13 kills, one block, one ace) for Siena.

Top Scorer - Wilfredo Leon Venero - Siena vs. Perugia

Valsa Group Modena recovered from their opening-week loss in great style, as they dominated Piacenza to a 3-1 (25-21, 15-25, 25-22, 25-23) victory. Turkish opposite Adis Lagumdzija and French star outside hitter Earvin Ngapeth split the team’s offensive load with 21 and 16 points respectively, while Italian opposite Yuri Romanò and Brazilian outside hitter Yoandy Leal produced 20 and 15 for Piacenza.

Saturday also featured another five-setter, with Allianz Milano topping Vero Volley Monza 3-2 (23-25, 23-25, 25-20, 25-23, 15-11) on the road. Milano had four players scoring in double digits including outside hitters Osniel Melgarejo (18), Yuki Ishikawa (15) and Milad Ebadipour (14) and opposite Jean Patry (15), but Monza’s German opposite György Grozer (28) and Belarusian outside hitter Uladzislau Davyskiba (20) were the top scorers of the match.

Verona will be tested again on Saturday, October 15, when they play Perugia in the opening match of the third week of the season. The five other duels will take place on Sunday.