Trento, 07 April 2024

Itas Trentino-Mint Vero Volley Monza 2-3, the match report

Chronicle of game 3. Itas Trentino returned to play in front of their home crowd after a week's absence, still without Sbertoli; Acquarone was once again the starting setter, with Rychlicki as opposite, Michieletto and Lavia in area 4, Kozamernik and Podrascanin in the middle, and Laurenzano as libero. Mint Vero Volley recovered Maar in area 4 and responded with Kreling as setter, Loeppky as opposite, Takahashi as second spiker, Galassi and Di Martino as middle blockers, Gaggini as libero. The Gialloblù got off to a flying start (4-1), with Lavia and Rychlicki (block) immediately unleashed at break point, but Monza didn't give up and immediately responded with Takahashi and Maar (7-7). An error at the net by Michieletto gave the guests their first lead (9-10), but it lasted only a few seconds because Kozamernik (ace) and Alessandro himself (block on Loeppky) gave the hosts a new internal +2 (12-10), which Rychlicki protected (14-12, time out by Eccheli). On resumption, it was two counter-attacks by Michieletto that doubled the lead (16-12, another time out by the Brianzoli). On 19-14, Mint seemed to be on the ropes, but instead found the strength to react, going up to minus three (19-16) and then to minus two (21-19) thanks to the blocks of Loeppky and Di Martino. Within a few minutes Soli spent the two time-outs at his disposal, but it was not enough because two more blocks (Maar and Di Martino again) sealed parity at 21. The sprint saw the Lombards go ahead with an ace by Loeppky on Lavia (23-24); Itas Trentino cancelled the set ball and then with Kozamernik at the serve they obtained the decisive counter break (26-24), also thanks to an error by Takahashi.
After the change of court, the Brianzoli reacted further, recomposing the initial 4-2 Trentino signed by Michieletto and transforming it, after few minutes, into a 6-9 thanks to Maar and to an incisiveness at the serve that forced Soli to call his team back to the bench. Trento suffered, Monza held on to the promising lead for a long time (9-12 and 12-15) before suffering Rychlicki's block on Maar that brought the two contenders back into close contact (15-16). The guests accelerated again (16-19), never letting themselves be caught again; the Gialloblù fought until 22-23, before conceding the points that led to parity in the set count (22-25).
Monza held on to the trend that saw them more on the ball than the Italian champions at the start of the third set (from 5-3 to 5-7 thanks to super Takahashi). Trento took the blow and began to struggle mightily in attack, allowing the guests to take advantage of Loeppky's serve to go up 5-6 (6-11) and then up 6 (8-14), with Maar inventing and scoring from area 4. With Kozamernik's serve and Michieletto's spikes, the hosts get back on track (11-14); Eccheli sniffs out the danger, calls time out, and his team then doesn't concede much (15-18). It took an ace by Lavia on Gaggini to bring the hosts back in close contact (17-19); the end was very tight with Acquarone blocking Takahashi and offering the minus one (21-22, another Brianza time out). The same Japanese player at resumption attacked out, tying the score at 23, then it was Maar's turn (another big spike for 25-24). In the advantages, Di Martino scores an ace on Rychlicki and then Michieletto commits a second line foul in the attempt to make a pipe: 25-27 and 1-2 for Monza.
In the fourth set the hosts had to do without Rychlicki at 4-3 (cramps); in his place entered Nelli, but the team initially suffered the psychological backlash, especially in reception (two consecutive aces by Galassi for 4-7). Nelli warms up his arm and favours the Gialloblù's recovery, which materializes at 9; in the central part, Itas Trentino relaxes with Podrascanin's block (from 13-11 to 16-13) and Lavia's attacks (18-15). Monza rebuilt their score here too (20-19, a block by Galassi who shortly before had scored another point); Trento tried to push back (23-21) with Michieletto but was caught again by Maar (24-24). A block by Kozamernik, again on the Canadian (27-25), ended the set in the advantages.
Tie break, then: a set in which the teams exchanged leads frequently in the first half (1-3, 6-5, 8-10); Monza protected its gap until 11-13, then Michieletto scratched for 12-13 (time out by Eccheli). Trento held its own until 13-14 and had the rebuild to once again go to the advantages, but Takahashi (MVP) blocked Lavia for the 13-15 that sends the series to game 4.

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