Superlega 2023 - News.


Vero Volley’s Ran Takahashi in attack

Led by Canada’s Arthur Szwarc and Stephen Maar, and Japan’s Ran Takahashi, Mint Vero Volley Monza produced the first upset of the new Italian SuperLega Credem Banca season with an away shutout of last season’s silver medallists Cucine Lube Civitanova, as the six matches of the first leg were played on Sunday.

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Vero Volley hammered out a sweep of their encounter with Lube on the wings of 11 serving aces, 10 of which authored by Ran Takahashi or Stephen Maar. The winners’ opposite Arthur Szwarc raised three kill blocks and spiked at a 64% success rate to deliver a match-high 17 points, earning the MVP award. Outside Takahashi’s success rate in attack was even better, 67%, and he fired five aces to finish with 15 points. His cross-court teammate Maar also scored 15 times, including five times directly from the serving line. Lube’s rising Bulgarian star Aleksandar Nikolov was the only other player on the court to reach the double digits. He attacked at a 65% success rate and scored two aces towards a 13-point tally.

“We have only been training with the full team for a week and we certainly still have to get to know each other better, but we came to Civitanova with the aim of playing the best match possible and only thinking about the result,” said Vero Volley’s Brazilian setter Fernando Kreling. “I'm very happy with how it went. Lube is a strong team and winning 3-0 away was very important. What I liked most about the match was the unity among us.”

“It's not the start we wanted, but having only met eight days ago we expected it. We still have some things to sort out,” commented Lube’s Argentinean setter Luciano De Cecco. “At times we played well, but they were stronger. We must continue to work and grow at our own pace. Whoever plays volleyball best wins and they deserved it today. We had our chances and we didn't take advantage of them.”

Defending champions Itas Trentino Trento also had a difficult start. They were pushed to five sets by their hosts Cisterna Volley, but managed to come away with a hard-fought victory. The winners were powered by outside hitter Alessandro Michieletto with 21 points. He spiked at a 59% success rate, fired three aces and raised two kill blocks. The other outside, Daniele Lavia, added 19 points and was named MVP of the match. On the other side of the net, Spanish outside Jordi Ramon impressed with seven aces towards a 21-point tally, while French opposite Theo Faure also put away 21 points to share the top-scorer honours with Michieletto and Ramon.

“In Cisterna di Latina it is always difficult for us to bring home the victory. Also thanks to a bit of luck, we did it today, managing to contain their serve in the second part of the match,” Daniele Lavia said. “Being able to start our journey with a victory is already a great result, also because objectively before today's match we hadn't had much time to prepare our game.”

The most anticipated match of the first leg, the season opener between Valsa Group Modena and Allianz Milan, was also pushed to five sets. At the end of a rollercoaster duel, the hosts from Modena celebrated a win, despite an amazing blocking effort from the visitors, who put away 21 stuffs against only three from Valsa Group. Middle Matteo Piano led the way with 10 kill blocks, while his Argentinean cross-court teammate Agustin Loser added another five. Valsa Group’s Russian opposite Maxim Sapozhkov was the best scorer of the match with 20 points, including two aces and two blocks, while Japanese outside Yuki Ishikawa led Allianz with 19 points. The MVP nomination went to Valsa Group’s Belarusian outside Uladzislau Davyskiba, who hammered three aces and some key points towards the victory.

Rana Verona started their season with a away win over Gioiella Prisma Taranto with a 22-point match high from Iranian opposite Amin Esmaeilnezhad. Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza mastered a straight-setter at home against Pallavolo Padova Padua, with opposite Yuri Romano leading the way with 12 points for the winners, while Padova’s outside Davide Gardini topped the scorers’ chart of the match with 13. In the last match of the first leg, hosts Sir Susa Vim Perugia achieved a sweep of their season opener against SuperLega rookies Farmitalia Catania. The winners were spearheaded by Cuban opposite Jesus Herrera with 11 points, while Farmitalia’s outside Luigi Randazzo topped that with 12 points.

SuperLega Credem Banca 2023-2024 2nd leg schedule:
Oct 28, 18:00 local (16:00 UTC): Rana Verona v Valsa Group Modena
Oct 28, 20:30 local (18:30 UTC): Itas Trentino Trento v Gioiella Prisma Taranto
Oct 29, 15:00 local (14:00 UTC): Pallavolo Padova Padua v Cucine Lube Civitanova
Oct 29, 16:30 local (15:30 UTC): Allianz Milan v Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza
Oct 29, 19:30 local (18:30 UTC): Mint Vero Volley Monza v Sir Susa Vim Perugia
Oct 29, 21:00 local (20:00 UTC): Farmitalia Catania v Cisterna Volley