After almost one year and a half of empty venues in Italy, today the ”Arena di Monza” opened its doors again to the public for their first match of the 2021/2022 season of SuperLega Credem Banca, where the host team Vero Volley Monza faced Leo Shoes PerkinElmer Modena.
With great expectation from both sides, after their amazing last year’s semifinal run, Monza begin the season with a renewed young roster lead by the experienced György Grozer, Donovan Džavoronok, Santiago Orduna, this year’s captain Thomas Beretta, and recent European Champion – Italian middle blocker Gianluca Galassi.
On the other side of the court, dream team Modena arrive at the first game of the season with the long-awaited comeback of Tokyo Olympic Champion Earvin Ngapeth and Brazil’s flag bearer Bruno Rezende. This year the ‘’gialloblu’’ are among the favorites to win the scudetto due to their successful transfer market. This season they count to one of the top scorers of last year’s SuperLega – opposite Nimir Abdel-Aziz, the superstar outside hitter Yoandy Leal, and the Serbian middle blocker Dragan Stanković, who will play as Italian this season after completing the process of changing the federation of origin.
The first set started well for the ‘’modenesi’’ with a tight 26-24 win and with Nimir Abdel-Aziz as the best scorer of the team with 4 points. Modena started the second set leading again until Monza’s Belarusian youngster Davyskiba went to serve and turned things around to give Monza a 21-17 lead; all seemed good for the home team until Bruno went to serve and evened the score to 22 all. Nimir then gave Modena the lead with a Monster Block, Monza hanged to the score with another block in return and then two phenomenal aces by Grozer gave Monza the victory of the set by 25-23.
In the third set, Monza dominated with an overall of 55% of attack. The score was very close until two monster blocks by Davyskiba gave Monza a 24-22 lead. Modena fought until the end, but the home team took the set 28-26. Monza were under control in most of the 4th set. The away team tried to catch them up in the middle of the set with a good service streak of Leal, but a great performance of the whole team and an amazing 100% of attack proficiency (10/10) by middle blocker Aleks Grozdanov (who replaced the captain of the team Thomas Beretta after the second set) gave the home team the first upset of the 2021/2022 season, with a final score of 3-1 for Monza.
The German star Grozer scored 21 points (4 aces) on the winning side, while the Czech Džavoronok put down 15 points (4 aces).
In an exclusive interview for WorldOfVolley, Monza’s setter and former player of Modena, Santiago Orduna, stated:
‘’I think this victory is really important for us, for the team, as we did not have a lot of time to prepare for this game because many players arrived quite late from the European Championship and the Olympic Games. We played against a team like Modena that is so strong. I am very happy about what we did in the first game, it’s great to start with a victory like this against Modena’’. And after being asked about what he expects from this season, his answer was ‘’the season has just started so it’s difficult to know where we can arrive. We have great potential, we have really good players, and we will try to repeat what we did last year’’.
If there is something certain after this match it is that Vero Volley’s last year’s semifinal run wasn’t just luck. They are hungrier than ever and they have started on the right foot.
Sir Safety Conad Perugia were victorious at their debut this season. It was a convincing success for the team commanded by Serbian Nikola Grbić, achieved against Top Volley Cisterna at home: 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-23). Cuban-Polish Wilfredo León was the top scorer for the ’Block Devils’ with 12 points.
2021/22 SuperLega Credem Banca – regular season, Round 1 (today’s matches):
AUTHOR: Lucia M. Lecouna Sports Data Scout and Journalist A former student of Communication and Media at the IULM University, sports journalist that focuses on Football, Volleyball and Basketball. https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucia-l-914710139 Contact mail: lulile(at)gmail.com