Plak in attack (source:

Plak in attack

As Italy’s SuperLega Credem Banca regular season approaches its midpoint, when the participants in the 2024 Coppa Italia competition will be known, the focus turns to the spots around the eighth place in the current standings, the cut-off line for the national cup quarterfinals. As five of the six eighth-leg SuperLega matches were played over the weekend, Pallavolo Padova Padua made an important step towards qualification, winning the three points against Farmitalia Catania, with an impeccable Fabian Plak on fire.

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The Dutch middle blocker made a true all-around contribution to his team’s 3-1 (25-18, 18-25, 25-19, 25-18) home win over the SuperLega rookies on Sunday. In serving, Plak hammered three aces. He added two stuffs in blocking and registered a 100% success rate in spiking with five kills to finish the match with 10 points. Even in reception, Plak also excelled as he handled perfectly both opponents serves directed at him during the game. Padova’s opposite Gabriel Garcia of the United States led the way with 19 points, including two aces. Outside hitter Davide Gardini added another 18, including three aces and a block, while the Most Valuable Player nomination went to Cuban outside Julio Cardenas, who was put in play during the second set and was among the starters for the third and the fourth sets to chip in 10 points towards the win. Austrian opposite Paul Buchegger produced a match-high 22 points for Farmitalia.

With this victory, Padova improved to a 4-5 win-loss record and 10 points and stand seventh in the table, while Farmitalia are still stuck at the bottom on 1-7 and 3.

“Except for the second set, we played a good match,” Padova’s German libero Julian Zenger commented. “We knew it would be tough, because Catania is a team that defends very well, like us, consequently always with very long plays. We remained focused even after the end of the second set and in the end we took home the three points.”

While still winless Gioiella Prisma Taranto managed to lose their fifth tie-breaker since the start of the season, Valsa Group Modena took advantage and widened the distance from the red line. After a rollercoaster 3-2 (25-22, 20-25, 18-25, 25-17, 15-13) away victory in Taranto on Saturday, Modena improved to 5-3 and 12 in sixth place, while Gioiella Prisma stand 11th on 0-8 and 5. Spiking at a 67% success rate, Russian opposite Maxim Sapozhkov put away a match-high 25 points towards Valsa Group’s win and claimed the MVP nomination. Belarusian outside Uladzislau Davyskiba added another 20, impressing with as many as five aces, while outside Filippo Lanza and American middle Jeffrey Jendryk (five kill blocks and an ace) led the home team with 16 and 14 points, respectively.

Taranto vs. Modena | Highlights | Superlega | 8a Giornata

The weekend’s top match was decided in straight sets. Reigning champions Itas Trentino Trento mastered an away 3-0 (25-17, 25-22, 25-16) shutout of silver medallists Cucine Lube Civitanova to stay undefeated in eight matches played since the start of the season. Alessandro Michieletto was the best scorer and the MVP of the match. The outside hitter fired three aces and put up a kill block towards the 16-point match high. Luxembourgish opposite Kamil Rychlicki put away another 13 points, while none of Lube’s players reached the double digits in scoring.

Trentino upped their record to 22 points, two below table leaders Sir Susa Vim Perugia and a game in hand. The reigning club world champions lost a set to visiting Cisterna Volley, but won three to improve to 8-1 and 24 on top of the standings. With Ukrainian outside Oleh Plotnytskyi and Tunisian opposite Wassim Ben Tara leading the way with 17 points each and Polish outside Kamil Semeniuk acing three times to finish with 14 points, the fans in Perugia enjoyed a 3-1 (25-16, 25-19, 20-25, 25-23) home victory on Saturday. Cisterna, who were fuelled by French opposite Theo Faure with a match-high 18 points, are currently just below the cut-off for the cup, in ninth place on 2-6 and 7 points.

On the same record, but separated in set ratio, Rana Verona are in 10th place after suffering a hard-fought 3-0 (27-25, 25-23, 25-20) defeat at Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza, who are now third on 5-3 and 17, enough to secure their place among the Coppa Italia quarterfinalists. The winners’ Brazilian outside Ricardo Lucarelli was the best scorer of that game with 17 points to his name.

The last match of the eighth leg will be played on Monday, when Mint Vero Volley Monza entertain Allianz Milan at 20:00 local time (19:00 UTC), while the ninth leg will be completed later this week with two games on Friday, December 8, and three on Sunday, December 10.

SuperLega Credem Banca 2023-2024 8th leg:
Dec 4, 20:00 local (19:00 UTC): Mint Vero Volley Monza v Allianz Milan

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