Superlega 2023 - News.

Aleks Nikolov celebrates (source:

Aleks Nikolov celebrates

Two captivating five-setters on Sunday evening made sure there will be more quarterfinal action in Italy’s SuperLega Credem Banca best-of-five quarterfinals. Outside hitters Aleksandar Nikolov and Osniel Mergarejo led their teams, Cucine Lube Civitanova and Allianz Milan, respectively, to important victories that levelled their quarterfinal playoffs and prompted deciding fifth matches on Wednesday evening.

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

Match hosts Mint Vero Volley Monza managed to come back from a set down twice in their fourth-leg game against Lube, but the visitors from Civitanova stayed persistent and celebrated their second consecutive five-set victory over Vero Volley, 3-2 (25-18, 23-25, 25-22, 18-25, 15-13), to level the series, in which they were two wins behind. Lube will now have the home-court advantage in the fifth-leg match on Wednesday, March 27, at 20:30 local time (19:30 UTC), which will decide who will advance to a semifinal clash with defending champions Itas Trentino Trento.

Rising star Aleksandar Nikolov earned the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award after leading his team to victory with 24 points. He registered a 51% success rate in attack and added two aces and a kill block to his tally. The 20-year-old Bulgarian shared the top scorer honours of the match with cross-court teammate Marlon Yant. The 22-year-old Cuban outside also finished with 24 points, including one ace and one block. Lube’s experienced star opposite Ivan Zaytsev also reached the double digits with 10 points to his name.

Five players scored 10+ points on Vero Volley’s side: Canadian outside Stephen Maar with 23, Canadian opposite Arthur Szwarc with 17, Japanese outside Ran Takahashi with 15, and middle blockers Gianluca Galassi and Gabriele Di Martino with 12 and 11, respectively.

“We are very happy to have managed to achieve the objective of bringing the series back to Civitanova for game five,” said Nikolov. “We did it by winning two games in the tie-breakers, two games that showcased all our character. Now, however, it will be essential to make the last step.”

“We will have another chance on Wednesday. We should have won tonight, we know it, but we are ready for the next challenge,” commented Ran Takahashi. “We need to improve and fix some details for the match on Wednesday."

Monza vs. Civitanova | Highlights | Superlega | Round 4 of the Quarterfinals

With Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza winning the first two sets of their visit to Milan on Sunday, Allianz were just a set away from being eliminated from the playoffs, but they battled their way back to a 3-2 (28-30, 25-27, 25-23, 27-25, 15-6) victory to stay alive in the series and push it to a crucial fifth match in Piacenza on Wednesday at 20:30 (19:30). The winner of that deciding game will take on Sir Susa Vim Perugia in the semifinals.

Cuban outside Osniel Mergarejo appeared on the court during the first three sets as a substitution, but then he took over a starting spot on Allianz’s seven from Bulgarian legend Matey Kaziyski for the last two sets and inspired the team’s fantastic comeback to claim the MVP nomination. Mergarejo finished with 12 points, including two kill blocks. His tally also included two aces in the fifth set. Belgian opposite Ferre Reggers led the squad from Milan with 22 points, including two aces and an impressive six blocks, followed by Japanese outside Yuki Ishikawa with 20 points and Argentinean middle Agustin Loser with 13. The other middle, Marco Vitelli, also reached the double digits with 10 points.

Gas Sales’ opposite Yuri Romano produced the match high of 29 points. Brazilian outsides Yoandy Leal and Ricardo Lucarelli added 15 and 14 points, respectively, while middle Edoardo Caneschi scored 10 times for the visitors.

“I don't know how many teams would have held the court that way,” said Allianz’s head coach Roberto Piazza. “I'm happy for the guys, who rallied together, understood that they needed everyone's help and made a comeback. They were good. I want to say ‘well done!’ to the boys and that's all there is to it. However, we know that we haven't done anything yet.”

“For four sets the two teams played on equal terms and three of the sets went into overtime. Even after we won the first two sets I knew that it would still be an open and difficult match. Milan did good things, while we dropped a lot in serving,” said Gas Sales’ head coach Andrea Anastasi.

Milano vs. Piacenza | Highlights | Superlega | Round 4 of the Quarterfinals

SuperLega Credem Banca 2023-2024 quarterfinals – 5th leg:
Mar 27, 20:30 local (19:30 UTC): Cucine Lube Civitanova v Mint Vero Volley Monza
Mar 27, 20:30 local (19:30 UTC): Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza v Allianz Milan