Volleyball: Taranto passes to Piacenza. Catania knocked out in Monza: relegated

In the preview of the 21st day the Apulians won in 5 sets. A result that condemns the Sicilians to A-2

Piacenza-Taranto 2-3 (23-25, 25-21, 21-25, 29-27, 13-15)

It’s a challenge between convalescent teams. Piacenza has come back from two consecutive stops and four in the last five Super League matches, Taranto which in the last five matches has only suffered defeats with a single point in the rankings. Both have important goals to achieve; the home team must find the momentum for the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals scheduled for Wednesday against Jastrzebski Wegiel, the Apulians must gain the arithmetic certainty of salvation. At the end there is not only a smile for the guests, but a great celebration for the goal achieved. Anastasi starts with Simon on the bench and Alonso on the pitch, then midway through the half he also has to replace Lucarelli, hit in the face by a pipe deflected from Piacenza’s wall and replaced by Recine. In the meantime, neither of the two teams manages to take off, after a good start by the home team, the Apulians dictate the pace with a wild Gutierrez, but the advantage is always slim. The score is tied at 23, when Lanza and an attack by Recine that fails to find the touch of the opponent’s block make it 1-0 for Taranto. The second set immediately goes towards Piacenza; the guests started badly with Lanza suffering the red and white’s 5-1 block. The hosts target Gutierrez on serve and the Apulians struggle a lot. There is never balance despite Travica looking for solutions from the bench which however are not enough; Taranto misses the last two serves which lead to 25-21 for the hosts in a set that underlines the good moment of the central players: 5 points from Gargiulo, 8 the sum of Caneschi and Alonso, all with 100 percent in attack. Taranto starts again with a good pace and immediately leaves Piacenza behind; the red and whites have a flash in the middle of the half and come back ahead for the first and only time in the half with Romanò’s 17-16. From this moment on, however, only the Apulians were smiling as they extended their lead towards the end thanks to the usual Gutierrez (20 points between the first and third sets) who scored the last two balls for 25-21. The Apulians embrace each other because the point, added to the simultaneous defeat of Catania, means salvation regardless of the final result. Travica’s team returns to the field free from all worries, the red and whites make the impossible mistakes and Taranto immediately flies 15-10. It seems over, but Dias’s entry for Brizard shakes up the hosts who draw at 20, and in the very excited final they close with an ace from Lucarelli for 29-27. Having escaped the danger, Anastasi’s team started the tie break better but was immediately overtaken by the unstoppable Gutierrez, with Taranto leading 8-5 at the change of ends, rejecting the red and white attempts to recover and finishing 15-13. (Matteo Marchetti)

Monza-Catania 3-0 (25-17, 25-19, 25-17)

Monza in the playoffs, Catania in A2 (thanks to the result of Piacenza-Taranto).. The verdict of the match at the Opiquad Arena is as clear as the score, 3-0 for Mint over Farmitalia. Eccheli’s team dominates from start to finish, playing a flawless match, confirming the excellent moment, and preparing as best as possible for the Challenge final (which took place on Wednesday away against Project Warsaw). Among the positive notes, there are also the increasingly significant flashes of Takahashi, on the path to complete recovery. MVp is Maar with 12 points, but Mint also dominates in serving (7 aces) and above all in blocking (13). For Catania 14 from Buchegger and 10 from Massari. Typical sextet of the last period for Eccheli, with Cachopa as director opposite Szwarc, Di Martino-Galassi as central defenders, Maar and Loeppky in the squad and Gaggini as libero. Bua responds with Orduna-Buchegger diagonally opposite setter (both former), Masulovic-Bossi in the center, Massari-Randazzo on the laterals with Cavaccini libero. Monza starts strong by blocking everything (5-0 with four blocks at the start). Catania is immediately on the ropes (8-1, 12-5, 21-6) because it also sinks in reception. A break of 0-4 (21-10) forces Eccheli to timeout, Catania (with Zappoli for Randazzo) recovers, but Mint (with Mujanovic and Takahashi on the pitch and launched by 4 consecutive aces from Loeppky) controls and closes 25-17 . The guests, with Zappoli confirmed on the pitch, started much better, working well in the block defense and taking advantage of a precise Massari. From 9-11, however, Monza returned to dominating the blocks, scoring 2 in the 4-0 which overturned the inertia. Mint extends 16-12, with Maar incisive. The Brianza team’s serve does the rest, separating Orduna from the net, and the hosts, with the attack at 57% against the opponents’ 38%, escape until 25-19 which gives the 2-0. In the third fraction Eccheli launches Beretta (for Di Martino) and Takahashi (for Loeppky) from the start, Bua chooses Santambrogio for Orduna. From 4-4 a 4-0 (attack and ace by Maar and two errors in attack by the guests) made Mint escape immediately. Catania (who soon lost Zappoli, one of his best), continues to suffer in every fundamental, and moves away (13-6, 17-10), with only Massari able to score. Eccheli empties the bench (also including Comparoni, Visic, Mujanovic and Morazzini), and with Farmitalia on the ropes Monza closes 25-17 for a 3-0 which mathematically qualifies for the playoffs. (Rodolfo Palermo)