Matey Kaziyski overcomes a three-man Vero Volley block (source:

Matey Kaziyski overcomes a three-man Vero Volley block

The last match of the eighth leg in Italy’s SuperLega Credem Banca offered a much anticipated Lombardy derby between neighbours Mint Vero Volley Monza and Allianz Milan on Monday evening. But it turned out a one-sided affair, in which the visitors from Milan, who were eighth in the standings before the game, hammered out a landslide 3-0 (25-16, 25-18, 25-18) upset of their third-placed (before the start of the leg) hosts. The duel was also much anticipated by the fans of Japanese stars Ran Takahashi and Yuki Ishikawa, who were supposed to face each other across the net, but that clash did not materialize since the latter did not get into play.

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Allianz’s Japanese outside hitter had to stay off the court because of persistent low back pain, but his teammates got the job done in an impeccable manner, shining with particular brilliance in block-defence. The team from Milan completely outblocked their opponents by 13-3 in stuffs, with Cuban outside Osniel Mergarejo and Argentinean middle blocker Agustin Loser raising four kill blocks each to finish on a match-high 11 points apiece. The latter was named Most Valuable Player of the match. Bulgarian star outside Matey Kaziyski also reached the double digits with 10 points for Allianz, while spearheading the offence with a 62% success rate in attack. Young Belgian opposite Ferre Reggers scored nine times towards the victory.

On the other side of the net, Vero Volley’s Canadian strikers Stephen Maar and Eric Loeppky, and Japanese outside Ran Takahashi led the way with nine, eight and seven points, respectively. The club’s fresh addition, 19-year-old rising Slovenian star opposite Nik Mujanovic, whose transfer from Calcit Kamnik was announced on the day of the match, made his SuperLega debut, entering the court as a substitution during sets one and three and scoring his first point in attack.

With this result, Allianz caught up with Cucine Lube Civitanova in points, on 13 each, staying just below the 2023 silver medallists, in sixth place, on number of victories. The team from Milan has been recovering from the negative streak of three consecutive defeats at the start of the season and has now improved to a 4-4 win-loss record. Vero Volley dropped to 5-3 and 14 points in fourth place.

“We expected a difficult match as they were third in the standings. We had an almost perfect performance, which confirms the growth of our team, and we must continue this journey. On Wednesday, we go back to work at the gym,” MVP Agustin Loser said. “If there is one wish I still have, it is to be able to have the entire squad available, because since the start of the championship we have had someone who suffering through some physical problems.”

The ninth leg of the SuperLega regular season will be completed later this week with two games on Friday, December 8, and three on Sunday, December 10.

SuperLega Credem Banca 2023-2024 9th leg:
Dec 8, 18:00 local (17:00 UTC): Cisterna Volley v Cucine Lube Civitanova
Dec 8, 20:30 local (19:30 UTC): Gioiella Prisma Taranto v Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza
Dec 10, 16:30 local (15:30 UTC): Farmitalia Catania v Mint Vero Volley Monza
Dec 10, 18:00 local (17:00 UTC): Valsa Group Modena v Itas Trentino Trento
Dec 10, 20:30 local (19:30 UTC): Rana Verona v Allianz Milan