Macerata and Trentino won the first semifinal duels at home. Macerata claimed 3:0 victory while Trentino had to face come back of Cuneo in third and fourth set.
Macerata took the initiatives in the first set. It built a 18-13 lead but Piacenza got back in it and forced De Giorgi to take a time out at 22-20. But then on the serve came Rak, who put Piacenza’s reception in trouble. Piacenza failed to tie and Mvp Matteo Martino took care of the rest. The Italian international took over in the second set and Macerata’s work at the net terribly limited the opponent’s attack. A couple fo change (Bravo and Marshall came on) were made in vain, as the percentages in attack and reception diminished and Macerata escaped with a 25-15 win. Lorenzetti changed his line up in the third to find balance in reception, but Omrcen made two aces all the same to go 14-9 up. Mirko Corsano’s dig was a big key too, he seemed to be everywhere. Thanks to Bravo and Rak, again, Piacenza got back within one, but once again, after a timeout, Macerata find the necessary resources to keep Piacenza at safe disatnce. Lorenzetti’s team has nop choice but to forget quickly this game before meeting again in the PalaBanca.
Ferdinando De Giorgi (Lube Banca Marche Macerata): “This 3-0 should not deceive anyone, it has not been as easy as it might look. We did a great job of responding everty time they try to get back in the game. This is the key of our success and we will need to keep this mentality against this team, which digs a lot and never gives up”.
Joao Paulo Bravo (Copra Nordmeccanica Piacenza): “The key to the game has been our serve, which did not work at all as it should have been. Vermiglio was left to play at ease. To limit such a string attack like that, was really difficult”.
A full house in Trento witnessed the home team got off to a strong start with some good reactive work at the net. Without Nikolov, the starting outside hitter, Prandi’s team was not accurate in serve and attack, where Bribanti seemed to be tense. The impression was that Trento was one level above, and the second set confirmed this, as Cuneo appeared to be tired. Vissotto and Winiarski led the team to a 2-0 lead. Cuneo started to play in the third set with Wijmans and Nuti as leaders. As time went on, the determination and belief increased. Trento faded in reception and attack but it remained tight. In the end, after wasting 7 set points, Cuneo eventually snatched it 32-30.
The game was getting interesting and exciting. In the fourth set, Stoychev sent Leonardi for Piscopo, then every Trento fan held its breath as Winiarski hurt his ankle and was substituted by Della Lunga. Cuneo had its main man in Bribanti, who gained the advantage on his serve. Trento failed to react and it was all down to the last set.
Cuneo believed in its chance to win it while Trento hanged in. Wijmans responded to Vissotto and then Stoychev sent Riad on. And that’s precisely the brazilian partnership Riad-Vissotto that sent Trento celebrating the first point of the semi final.
Andrea Bari (Itas Diatec Trentino): “Our excellent end of game made up for the middle part which has been particularly brilliant, we had struggled to receive Cuneo’s serve. Tonight’s victory shows that we have a complete squad, with many possibilities. Our team knows how to fight till the end. At 2-0 up, the game changed but we managed to focus again on the game. It is a very important victory”.
Silvano Prandi (Bre Banca Lannutti Cuneo): “When Nuti came on, this allowed Biribanti to make his mark on the game, because our second outisde hitter has a better understanding with him. In this game, we managed to do what we had successfully done against Montichiari over the five games. We got back well in the game but we paid the price for the too many mistakes made in the tie-break”.