Super Lega 2021 - News


Set to take place on Saturday and Sunday, the second set of matches in Italy’s SuperLega Credem Banca playoff quarterfinals are likely to have mixed outcomes. Some teams will book their spots in the semifinals, while others will leave it to the following week and the third match in their best-of-three series.

While the four highest-ranked teams of the regular season had home-court advantage in the first matches of their series last weekend, and all won their matches to edge forward in the race towards the semis, it is bound to get more interesting this weekend as those four teams travel to the home courts of their lower-ranked opponents, who will do their best to please their home fans with an upset.

The weekend will open at 18:00 local time on Saturday with Vero Volley Monza hosting Cucine Lube Civitanova. The other three matches – Allianz Milano v Leo Shoes PerkinElmer Modena, Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza v Itas Trentino, and Top Volley Cisterna v Sir Safety Conad Perugia – are scheduled to take place at the same time on Sunday.

Monza's German star Gyorgy Grozer and teammates have some newly found confidence after their historic CEV Cup trophy last week. It did not pay off in their visit to Civitanova Marche on Sunday, when they lost in straight sets, but now that all the emotions have settled, they will try to repeat their Supercoppa semifinals achievement, when they delivered a 3-1 upset of Lube at the Eurosuole Forum. Defending champions Lube are well aware that they will face a difficult challenge on Saturday, however. And Osmany Juantorena and his teammates have a full week to prepare for their visit to Monza.

“I am confident that my team have what it takes to triumph in the second leg. We will make sure that the match on Saturday is nothing like the first.” Gianluca Galassi, middle blocker of Vero Volley Monza
“We believe in the final victory. It is the goal. I think that in the second match our serving could shift the balance our way again.” Marlon Yant, outside hitter of Cucine Lube Civitanova

Milano and Modena were closely matched in the regular season standings and although the stellar squad conducted by brilliant Brazilian playmaker Bruno Rezende took a solid straight-set victory at home in the first leg of their quarterfinal rivalry, the series now moves to Milano, where Olympic champs Jean Patry and Barthelemy Chinenyeze and their Allianz teammates will be inspired by their own fans on the stands of the Palalido. The inspiration, of course, goes in both directions, so in the days before the match some of Milano’s stars will take on the role of ticket cashiers.

"We made the start that we wanted. We didn't have the regular season we wanted, but the championship race is very important, so let's hope this was the beginning of a successful journey. The playoffs are very important for everyone, but we are sure of our abilities and confident that when Nimir plays well, everything becomes even easier." Earvin Ngapeth, outside hitter of Leo Shoes PerkinElmer Modena
“In game one, we entered the field a bit tight and we didn't play loose enough. For game two, we must be able to free our heads even if it is difficult." Thomas Jaeschke, outside hitter of Allianz Milano

Unlike the other SuperLega quarterfinalists, Perugia and Trentino have an important midweek appointment on Wednesday as they face each other at a continental level in the first leg of the Champions League semifinals. However, their opponents on Sunday, Cisterna and Piacenza, respectively, have the whole week to get ready to fight for survival in Sunday’s quarterfinal matches.

Piacenza’s players may have taken time to celebrate their Turkish point maker Adis Lagumdzija’s 23rd birthday on Tuesday, and their libero Damiano Catania’s 21st birthday on Monday, but their home game against Trentino is, of course, their top priority this week, especially after the straight-set defeat in Trento last weekend, which put them in a must-win situation.

“We know how good Piacenza are and how difficult it will be to win on Sunday at the PalaBanca. Our opponents will give everything to win the chance to play a deciding third game in Trento, and this is the beauty of the playoffs.” Angelo Lorenzetti, head coach of Itas Trentino

Qualifying for the quarterfinals and then winning a set away to favourites Perugia may already have exceeded Cisterna’s expectations for the season. But it has also created an appetite for more. Last year’s U21 world champion Tommaso Rinaldi and the rest of the Cisterna squad are now ready to welcome Perugia’s constellation of stars, led by captain Wilfredo Leon. And they will make them work for their spot in the semis.

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