The first match of 2023 is a road matchup for Cucine Lube Civitanova. The streak of five consecutive wins in the Regular Season is broken at a sold-out PalaPanini, with almost 5,000 spectators, in the advance of the 3rd round of the return. The defeat in three sets (25-16, 25-21, 25-19) in the direct matchup for the standings with the home team, Valsa Group Modena, is fatal. This slip-up costs a position for the Italian champions, who are now third in the rankings and slipped to -3 from the Emilian team, despite the encouragement of a good number of white-red fans in attendance.
The final statistics leave little room for imagination. Andrea Giani’s men are superior from nine meters (8-2), in attack (58% compared to the white-red 48%) and at the wall (6-4). The main problems come from the lethal serve of the Valsa Group and from faulty reception on the away half of the court. On the home team, aided by an overflowing palas, Bruno is awarded the MVP title, and Ngapeth closes as the top scorer (12 points with 2 aces and 53% positivity reception). On the Civitanova front, the only one in double digits is Yant (10 points and 1 block).
In the first set, Lube struggles to find continuity in attack, takes 3 blocks without reply and cannot withstand the Modena surge in reception (5 aces to 0 for the yellows) and ends up 19-9 down before falling 25-16, despite the changes, against an orderly Valsa Group. Also in the second partial, the Emilian team dominates at the serve (2 aces to 0) and attacks better, although Lube grows at the wall by realizing one more winning and tries to reopen the set in the final stretch (22-19). The errors at the serve of the cooks are then decisive (25-21). In the third act, Blengini bets on Bottolo instead of Nikolov and after a few exchanges, he inserts Diamantini for Chinenyeze. Garcia is also inserted for Zaytsev. The script does not change. Lube goes on an alternating current and then finally shuts off (25-19) at the third match ball of the Modena team.
Chicco Blengini’s men will return to the field on Tuesday, January 10 (9pm Italian time) for the CEV Champions League match in Portugal against Benfica. A reaction will be needed in the game of the 2nd round of the return of Pool C.