Superlega 2023 - News.

Rana Verona players celebrate in Perugia (source: legavolley.it)

Rana Verona players celebrate in Perugia

Rok Mozic and Aleks Grozdanov powered Rana Verona to a stunning five-set upset of reigning club world champions Sir Susa Vim Perugia in Perugia on Sunday, the club’s first victory over this opponent since 2016. Upsets were produced in another two exciting five-setters during the weekend’s 18th leg of Italy’s SuperLega Credem Banca regular season action, with Pallavolo Padova Padua defeating Allianz Milan and Mint Vero Volley Monza beating Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza on the road.

  • Watch Italy’s SuperLega Credem Banca live and on demand on VBTV.

Slovenian star outside Rok Mozic fired a match-high 20 points, including three kill blocks and two aces, towards Rana Verona’s 3-2 (25-20, 21-25, 25-14, 17-25, 15-13) victory in Perugia and earned the Most Valuable Player nomination. His cross-court teammate, Czechia’s Donovan Dzavoronok added another 16 points, while Bulgarian middle blocker Aleks Grozdanov impressed with an 80% success rate in attack, two aces and to kill blocks to finish with 12 points, one more than Iranian opposite Amin Esmaeilnezhad. In the absence of Ukrainian outside Oleh Plotnytskyi from the court, Sir were led by Cuban-born Pole Wilfredo Leon with 19 points, including four aces and two blocks. The other Polish outside Kamil Semeniuk finished with 17 points and Tunisian opposite Wassim Ben Tara added another 13.

Perugia vs. Verona | Highlights | Superlega | 18a Giornata

With this success, Bulgarian coach Radostin Stoytchev’s team caught up with Allianz Milan on 30 points each and overtook them into the fifth place on number of wins, 11 in 18 games. Sir are still second on 41 points and a 13-5 win-loss record.

“If we lost, it is because Verona did better in various situations, both in the sideout phase and in the break phase. And even in serving, the immediate impression is that we could have done more,” commented Sir’s libero Massimo Colaci.

Allianz Milan took only a point upon their visit to Padua on Sunday and dropped to sixth place in the current standings on 30 points and a 9-9 win-loss record. Pallavolo Padova celebrated a narrow 3-2 (25-23, 22-25, 25-22, 21-25, 18-16) victory and improved to 16 and 6-12 in 10th place.

Four players reached the double digits on each side of the net. Outside Davide Gardini aced four times towards a match-high tally of 21 points. Outside Luca Porro (three aces), who was named MVP of the match, and US opposite Gabriel Garcia (three kill blocks) finished with 16 points each, followed by Dutch middle Fabian Plak with 13 points, including three blocks and two aces, for the winners. Without their Bulgarian legend Matey Kaziyski and captain Matteo Piano on the court, Allianz were led by Japanese star Yuki Ishikawa with 20 points, including three aces and a kill block. Croatian opposite Petar Dirlic, Cuban outside Osniel Mergarejo and middle Marco Vitelli registered 19, 11 and 10 points, respectively.

“I'm really very happy,” exclaimed MVP Porro. “It was a very difficult match, against one of the strongest teams in this championship. In the face of this evening's victory, I cannot hide my joy - two more very important points towards the race for salvation! This evening we really believed in it and that's what made the difference.”

Padova vs. Milano | Highlights | Superlega | 18a Giornata

In Saturday’s big match, seventh-placed Mint Vero Volley Monza managed a 3-2 (25-21, 19-25, 25-23, 20-25, 15-11) away victory over third-placed Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza and improved to 27 and 9-9. The hosts stand on 36 and 11-7.

Gas Sales’ opposite Yuri Romano (two aces, two kill blocks) and Vero Volley’s Canadian outside Eric Loeppky (three aces, three kill blocks) shared the top scorer honours of the match with 22 points apiece. The latter was honoured as match MVP. The other two Canadians on the winners’ squad also reached the double digits. Outside Stephen Maar scored 19 times and opposite Arthur Szwarc – 13. For the home team, Brazilian outsides Ricardo Lucarelli and Yoandy Leal and Cuban middle Robertlandy Simon finished with 17, 15 and 12 points, respectively.

“A great victory today!” said Vero Volley’s middle blocker Gabriele Di Martino. “We are really happy with this result. It was a difficult match where we managed to start well and, even if Piacenza raised the level set after set, to always remain focused. Now we have to pay maximum attention to the next game against Milan, another very demanding match.”

Piacenza vs. Monza | Highlights | Superlega | 18a Giornata

In Sunday’s closing match, Valsa Group Modena hammered out a 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-21) home win over Cisterna Volley, with a 19-point match high from Belarusian opposite Uladzislau Davyskiba, and the two teams swapped their positions in the table. Modena returned to eighth place on 22 and 9-9, while Cisterna dropped below the red line for the playoffs, in ninth place on 22 and 7-11.

Fourth-placed Cucine Lube Civitanova delivered a 3-1 (23-25, 25-22, 25-22, 30-28) win on the road at Gioiella Prisma Taranto and upped their record to 35 and 13-5. Gioella are in 11th place on 11 and 2-16. The home team’s Filippo Lanza with 18 points and Lube’s outside Mattia Bottolo and Turkish opposite Adis Lagumdzija with 16 each were the best scorers of the match.

Table leaders and defending champions Itas Trentino Trento did not leave room for any surprises upon their visit to bottom-of-the-table Farmitalia Catania, mastering a 3-0 (25-15, 25-20, 25-17) sweep with Luxembourgish opposite Kamil Rychlicki leading the way with 15 points. Farmitalia’s Austrian opposite Paul Buchegger topped the chart with 18 points. Trentino are now eight points clear on top of the standings, on 49 and 17-1, while the rookies from Catania are stuck on 5 and 1-17.

SuperLega action will resume with the midweek matches of the 19th leg on Wednesday, February 14.

SuperLega Credem Banca 2023-2024 19th leg:
Feb 14, 20:00 local (19:00 UTC): Allianz Milan v Mint Vero Volley Monza
Feb 14, 20:30 local (19:30 UTC): Farmitalia Catania v Pallavolo Padova Padua
Feb 14, 20:30 local (19:30 UTC): Cisterna Volley v Sir Susa Vim Perugia
Feb 14, 20:30 local (19:30 UTC): Itas Trentino Trento v Cucine Lube Civitanova
Feb 14, 20:30 local (19:30 UTC): Rana Verona v Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza
Feb 14, 20:30 local (19:30 UTC): Valsa Group Modena v Gioiella Prisma Taranto