Trento, 28 October 2023

Itas Trentino-Gioiella Prisma Taranto 3-2, the match report

Match report. Itas Trentino played in a standard line-up in front of their fans. On the tricolour Mondoflex of the ilT quotidiano Arena, Fabio Soli had Sbertoli as setter, Rychlicki opposite spiker, Michieletto and Lavia as hitter spikers, Kozamernik and Podrascanin as middle blockers and Laurenzano as libero. Taranto answered with Trinidad DeHaro as setter, Russell as opposite spiker, Lanza and Gutierrez on the fourth position, Alletti and Jendryk as middle blockers and Rizzo as libero. After a balanced start only up to 4-4, the hosts quickly took the lead thanks to two blocks (Kozamernik and Lavia on Russell) and an ace by Michieletto, taking the lead to +4 (9-5), which advised the Ionians to stop the match.When the set resumed, however, Alessandro hit again from the nine-metre line (11-5), allowing his team to extend their lead and then run away with the second set (14-7, 17-9 and 20-10) to win 25-16. The continuous ball rotation and the good vein at the net of all the forwards, with Podrascanin on the shields, quickly led to a 1-0 lead for the home side.
The script for the second half seemed to be similar to the first, with Michieletto serving for the first break (6-4), but in this case the yellow-blue perhaps relaxed too early, allowing the visitors to recover (9-10), forcing Soli to interrupt the game. Back on the court, the two teams continued to battle it out point by point, often taking turns to lead (11-10 and 14-15), with Gioiella Prisma's block holding up well. The sextets were level at 20, with Russell and Michieletto in evidence; the sprint was on, Trento held the lead (23-22), but suffered a counter-break from the same American opponent and a generous pipe from their own left-handed number 5 (23-25).
At 1-1 in the set, Itas Trentino seemed more nervous; the Apulians took advantage of this to start the third set better (2-4 and 5-8), taking advantage of errors at the net and on serve by the tricolour players. Lanza's ace was worth the maximum advantage (7-11), as the red-blue then increased the break point loot with the usual Russell (attacks in series and also a point at 9-15). Michieletto tried to get back into the game (12-17), but that was not enough to turn the tide. Soli, who had already used both timeouts, brought in the Acquarone-Nelli diagonal, but to no avail. Taranto made the most of the opportunity and took their first point of the season, 18-25.
Trailing 2-1, as they did six days earlier in Cisterna di Latina, the Trentino team tried to make a comeback in the SuperLega for the second time in a row. Sbertoli tried to rely more on his hammers in position 4, and also unleashed them in the pipe (4-5). A block by Podrascanin is needed to equalise, but it doesn't last long, as an ace by Alletti and the winning rebuild by Raffaelli (on the court in place of Gutierrez from the start of the set) push Gioiella Prisma to +3 (8-11).
A mistake by Michieletto at the net pushed the visitors further back (10-14); Lavia tried to bring his team back to life with a block on Lanza (13-15), but it was only a momentary illusion. Russell and Raffaelli were back on top (14-18 and 17-21), but at the most difficult moment the Italian champions reared their heads again: Michieletto's serve found a significant streak, also topped by an ace, to level at 21. The Italians were rewarded for their sprint as they took their second opportunity to seal the set at 26-24 thanks to a Trinidad DeHaro foul at the net.
The tie-break was all Itas Trentino; from 4-4, the Tricolore accelerated in every fundamental (7-4 and 9-5). Rychlicki and Kozamernik's block on Gutierrez led his team to their second 3-2 comeback in as many matches (12-8 and 15-8).

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