Trento, 14 February 2024

Itas Trentino-Cucine Lube Civitanova 3-1, the match report

The chronicle of the match. Itas Trentino returned to their home court three weeks after the last time in front of their home crowd with a standard line-up: the starting six consisted of Sbertoli as the coach on the floor, Rychlicki as opposite, Michieletto and Lavia as outside hitters, Podrascanin and Kozamernik as middle blockers, Laurenzano as libero. Civitanova has to do without Zaytsev (injured and not even on the score sheet) and responds with De Cecco as setter, Lagumdzija opposite, Yant and Bottolo in place 4, Chinenyeze and Anzani as middle blockers, Balaso libero.
Initially it was the hosts who got off to a better start from the blocks, thanks to Alessandro Michieletto who was immediately very incisive at the net (3-1 and 7-4). The guests tried to stay in the slipstream, but were very foul at the net and imprecise in reception, a tactical situation that favoured a further lengthening signed again by the yellow-blue left-hander (12-8). Blengini interrupts the game, but soon after Podrascanin blocks Bottolo in pipe and Yant attacks out for +6 (15-9). In the second half of the set Itas Trentino played with ease, managing the large lead well (18-12, 20-14 and 22-17) thanks to a very fluid changeover phase and an unstoppable Rychlicki. The change of court at 1-0 only came, however, at 25-22 because in the last exchanges Civitanova found greater precision in the serve.
The second set was a different story, although the Italian champions started it better (4-2) with the usual Michieletto, before Civitanova reacted by flying to +2 (5-7) and then +4 (8-12). The Trentino ball changeover system gets jammed up; the home team becomes nervous at the net (direct errors by Rychlicki and Kozamernik), with Soli forced to spend the second discretionary time out already on 8-13. At the resumption, a spurt by Michieletto brought the two teams closer (11-13), then the distance became minimal (14-15) before Lagumdzija's block on Lavia and an ace by the same Turk did not widen the gap (15-19). The yellow-blue coach alternated the main diagonal (Acquarone and Nelli in), which did not, however, guarantee the cue that was needed to reverse the trend (16-22). The 1-1 already arrived on 19-25 with an error at the net by Michieletto.
Itas Trentino reacted vehemently at the start of the third: it was Lavia's ace that set the tricolour point phase on fire (from 3-1 to 7-3), with Rychlicki and Michieletto unleashed at the net. The further push towards a bigger lead came from Lavia (12-7) and the great work offered between block and defence. In the middle, Cucine Lube held on with the ball change (15-12), before Michieletto went wild again (18-12). The run towards a 2-1 home lead was still painful (21-18), but still effective thanks to the usual Alessandro who made the score 25-19.In the fourth set, Soli confirmed D'Heer on the court in place of Kozamernik (he had already made his entrance at the end of the third set) and the challenge was back on, blow by blow, at least until 7-7, then Trento accelerated with the Belgian centre for 10-7 and 12-9. Civitanova, with block and defence, climbed the slope up to 14-all; it was Podrascanin (attack and block on Anzani) who gave them +2 again. Lavia on the diagonal brings his team to 20-17, which effectively opens the yellow-blue’s party: the 3-1 lead arrives on 25-21 with a service error by Yant.

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