Trento, 16 March 2023

Trentino Itas-Grupa Azoty 3-2, the match report

Match report. No surprises in the starting six, which the two coaches confirm compared to the first leg match played nine days ago in Poland; Angelo Lorenzetti goes for Sbertoli as setter, Kaziyski as opposite, Michieletto and Lavia in position 4, Lisinac and Podrascanin as middle players, Laurenzano as libero. Kędzierzyn-Koźle’s coach ,Tuomas Sammelvuo, lines up Janusz as setter, Kaczmarek as opposite, Sliwka and Bednorz as hitters, Smith and Pashitskii as middle players, Shoji as libero. The initial balance is broken by a winning serve by Kaziyski (5-3), imitated a few seconds later by Michieletto (another ace, for 7-4); the Polish players stumble but do not give up and with two break points by Sliwka (attack and block on Matey) immediately get back into the match (9- 8).
In the middle phase of the set, Alessandro strikes again at pipe and block this time, scoring a new sprint (15-11) and forces the guests to call a timeout. Once the game’s restarts, Bednorz attacks with an out-ball which leads the hosts to the maximum score (16-11), that they manage to keep until the 18-13 and then 21-16, thanks to Lisinac’s block at place 4. The internal 1-0 arrives without further blows already at 25-19, with a direct error by Sliwka.
Trentino Itas keeps on going with the same spur of enthusiasm even in the second set: Alessandro Michieletto scores a +3 with three consecutive aces (from 5-5 to 8-5). Kędzierzyn-Koźle attempts a comeback (10-8) that lasts just a few seconds because then Lisinac and the number 5 itself hold the reins and lead the yellow-blue team first to 14-9 and then to 16-10. However, during the hosts’ best moment, the Polish team got the upper hand thanks to Huber’s service, who just got on court, and reached the -3 (17-14); Trento does not give up and takes advantage of the guests’ errors (20-15, time out by Sammelvuo). At the end of the set, Groupa Azoty makes a comeback with Kaczmarek (20-18) and a block (22-21, Huber stops Michieletto); Trentino Itas struggles in attack and Kędzierzyn-Koźle incredibly takes off with Huber and the opposite spiker itself (ace for 22-24) and makes the team even thanks to Džavoronok service error (23-25).
At the start of the third set Lorenzetti’s team suffers the psychological repercussions and the team immediately goes below 1-4 and the coach calls a timeout. At the restart, Kaziyski’s aces make the team get back in the game (two in a row for 6-6), and then hold the game’s reins again with Lisinac, Podrascanin and Kaziyski, side-out phase and break points machines (from 10-10 to 14-10). Sammelvuo’s time out clears his team’s head, who then finds a tie at 16-16 with block and counterattack; the yellow-blue team replies with Lavia (19-17), but are taken back again at the finest moment by an easy slash by Bednorz (21-21). The set’s final rush is heart-pounding (23-23, 25-25); the hosts overturned two set balls to their opponents, got themselves one with Lavia (26-25) and also one after that, then the Polish blocked Kaziyski with Kaczmarek and took an outside 1-2 lead thanks to Bednorz (27-29). The point-to-point battle restarts in the fourth set, in which Trentino Itas ties well (5-3, Michieletto) before being taken back again by Grupa Azoty (10-10). The two teams offer their best from all points of view (14-13, 16-16) and the match rises again. Podrascanin blocks Kaczmarek delivering the expected +2 (20-18), which turns into +3 after Sammelvuo's timeout thanks to an ace by Michieletto. The hosts conceded nothing more and sent the challenge to the tie break on 25-21 (Huber's net error).
The fifth set immediately saw Trentino Itas take charge (5-3) and stretch further immediately after the change of court with Kaziyski and Lavia (10-5). Success comes as early as 15-12 and sends the contest to the golden set.
The tie-breaker partial starts well for Kedzierzyn-Kozle with Bednorz (0-3 and 1-4); Podrascanin tries to sew up the tear (3-4) but the guests re-along with Bednorz's ace on Laurenzano (3-6) and then fend off the new attempt to get closer by the locals hoisted by the usual Potke (5-6 to 6-10). The European champions smelled the danger and later conceded nothing more (7-12), flying toward qualification for the semifinals, which came at 9-15.

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