Trento, 03 March 2024

Itas Trentino-Pallavolo Padova 1-3, the match report

The chronicle of the match. Itas Trentino takes to the court for the last engagement of its triumphant regular season with a completely new starting six; coach Fabio Soli gives a Sunday off to all the starters, throwing Acquarone at the helm, Nelli as opposite spiker, Magalini and Cavuto as outside hitters, Berger and D'Heer as middle blockers, Pace as libero. Padova responds with Falaschi as setter, Stefani as opposite, Porro and Desmet in place 4, Truocchio and Plak as middle blocker, Zenger as libero. The start showed that Trento could play its cards even with this set-up (4-4 and 6-6) and ran away on +2 thanks to Cavuto's acuto (block and counterattack for 8-6). The yellow-blue held on to their lead until 11-9, then Porro levelled the score and Plak's block on Oreste gave the Venetian team the lead (14-15), a +1 that was confirmed later (16-17) in a photocopy. Another block by the Dutch centre, this time on Magalini, doubled the distance (17-19), forcing the Trentino coach to spend a time out. At the resumption an error by Stefani delivers parity (19-19), bringing the contest to a sprint (21-21 and 23-23): Padova wins it with another block by Plak on Nelli at the first set ball (23-25).
The reaction of the Italian Champions was not long in coming and materialised immediately. With D'Heer and Cavuto unleashed at the net, including blocks and attacks, Itas Trentino flew to 4-2 and then 8-4. Cuttini interrupts the game and when Desmet resumes serving, he brings the two teams back in close contact (10-9). Nelli's serve gave them another lead (an ace for 12-9) and protected it (15-12), but soon after the local ball changeover lost effectiveness and gave way to another Venetian comeback (16-15). Parity arrived at 18 with Stefani, but his counterpart Nelli boosted the tricolour team's chances (20-18) on a counter-attack; it was the decisive spurt, as the same opposite number confirmed the lead and in the end even increased it (25-21).
On the wave of enthusiasm, the yellow-blue started well in the third set (5-3), but immediately suffered the opponent's response (6-8), aided by a couple of their own errors at the net. Trento did not give up, and D'Heer tied the game at 10, but that was the last gasp of a set that then took a decidedly Patavina turn. Stefani inspired a new lead (11-14) that his team-mates were able to defend and then increase (14-19). There was also room on the court for the very young Bernardis and Bristot (in place of the starting diagonal of post 1 and 2) but the gap was never closed again (15-21 and 19-25).
In the fourth set Padova tried to make the difference immediately (4-7), but a revived Itas Trentino replied up to 8-8 also thanks to an ace by Berger. The guests forced the serve and managed the simple situations better, bouncing back with Stefani and Porro (9-12 and 11-16). Soli reproposed Bernardis and Bristot on the court, but the yellow-blue were no longer able to climb the slope (15-20 and 20-25).

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