Volleyball: Lavia the World Cup is not enough: ‘Now we want the Scudetto’

The hammer from Trento talks about the 18 months that changed his life and his ambitions for the season that has just begun

Valeria Benedetti

November 16th
– Milan

From summer 2021 to November 2022. Not even a year and a half. From Katowice to Katowice, but also from Trento to Trento. Daniele Lavia went from being a promising young man fleeing Modena to being one of the symbols of the Italian Renaissance and one of the cornerstones of Itas Trentino. A European win followed by a World Cup that hadn’t been on the blue board for 24 years. A piece of history that brought Italy back to the top in volleyball after a quarter of a century. The boy from Calabria with his grit and his desire to emerge becomes leader of the national team.

Daniele Lavia what has changed after the World Cup?

«Definitely a little more awareness, like after the European Championship – says the 23-year-old spiker -, but it didn’t change me in a clear way. I am that, the desire to work and to test myself is always great. I am certainly happy, it is a historic undertaking for Italy and we know we have done an important thing, but we are a humble group with our feet on the ground”.

How did you perceive this success??

«During the World Cup we perceived it as an opportunity for growth. We didn’t have the pressure of having to win, but the desire to test ourselves during a growth path against giants like France and Poland. A journey that started in part in the Nations League and continued later with work and study. World gold was unexpected. We were shocked, shaken by this enterprise that hadn’t been around for years and also proud of having brought Italy to the top of the world».

“So many memories. The good thing is to win, it’s a bit bad to relive it only in memories also because we split up immediately. There wasn’t time to enjoy that moment and we are such a beautiful group that, at least for me, it was bad having to put an end to the summer in the national team. The other side of the coin is that I returned to an equally beautiful and stimulating group in Trento and now I can fight for other goals».

Which Itas team is this year?

«We’ve strengthened ourselves, the bench is longer and it showed both in the third place final of the super cup and in the Champions League where we played with a different line-up in the first match. We have to get used to change. Perugia showed him that this is the way. During training the level is very high. During the game it’s different, maybe you’re still on the bench and you have to be ready to enter difficult moments. There have been phases in which it was necessary ».

You’ve also changed your game and set-up a bit since last year.

«We are finding this form with Matey (Kaziyski, ed) opposite (last year it was Lavia who played diagonally in Sbertoli, ed), but in the end it doesn’t change much. We have to find a different balance to reach the end less exhausted than last year. It’s not an alibi, but this year we have the opportunity to give everyone a breather and it’s right to take advantage of it. The coach asked us to play as we know how, to push hard. The only way to reach Perugia is to work hard, communicate, feel good together, a bit like we did in the national team».

Meanwhile, so far you are the only team behind Perugia that runs.

«We are seeing some results. At the beginning we paid for Sbertoli’s stoppage (the director, ed) even though Depalma was very good. The path is long. This Super League has a very high level, there isn’t a team that isn’t equipped to compete for the playoffs and it shows in the results up to now. The goal of every match is to hold on for five sets because everyone is known to be able to give battle (Trento has played three tiebreaks in 8 games, ed). Slowly we try to put some technical distance with the other teams. It’s an advantage because every victory is worth a lot and attention doesn’t decrease».

A championship suitable for a player full of grit like Lavia…

«It’s true – laughs Daniele – I’m very competitive, it bothers me to lose even in training. I try to push my teammates, to “flush them out” if they slow down a bit and they too do it with me. That’s how you grow up.”