Uncontainable joy for the Veronese public at the end of the match won by WithU Verona against Emma Villas Aubay Siena. After an uphill start, coach Stoytchev’s team imposes its game, dominating for long stretches and putting in the safe three points that certify participation in the Del Monte Coppa Italia. Performance to frame for the Russian opposite Sapozhkov, who earns the MVP award thanks to the 25 points grounded, with Keita following him closely at 20. The contribution of Spirito, author of 3 blocks, is decisive at the net. Appointment on 10 December at 17.00 with the away match against Cisterna, which will close the first round.


In the starting sextet coach Stoytchev confirms Spirito on the dribble, with Sapozhkov in the opposite role to complete the diagonal. In the band the two hammers Mozic and Keita, with the pair Mosca-Grozdanov in the center and Gaggini in defense as a libero. The match opens with Sapozhkov’s winning diagonal. The guests made up for it, going forward in the score, which was maintained even after a couple of prolonged actions. The Verona troop takes over the reins again thanks to the Russian giant, closely followed by a placed ball by Keita (6-4). On the other side of the net, Siena responds with good plots, stamping the counter pass with Pinali (8-9). From nine meters Van Garderen signs the first break, giving him a lead of two lengths (11-13). The Tuscans try to extend, flying on 15-19 and managing to keep the landlords at a distance. The Gialloblù try to reopen the partial, but Petric and his teammates prove to be more precise and unlock the match on 25-20.


Upon returning to the field, Emma Villas picks up where she left off, placing the block with Ricci. The local attack responds with Sapozhkov and Keita, who lights up and gives WithU the lead (4-3). Finally, even the wall begins to be decisive with Moscow. The public shouts again after Petric’s mistake at the end of a long exchange, the outcome of which is worth a break (9-6). Verona gains trust and also meshes with the understanding between the departments. Keita takes center stage both from the front line and on serve. Opponents feel the pinch and Stoytchev’s team pushes. Moscow unleashes another block, which coincides with +6 (17-11). Keita, Spirito and Grozdanov throw three monster blocks in a row, which mark the escape. Then comes the long-awaited moment: Jensen’s return, which is greeted by an ovation. With the first good ball, the Dane puts down the set point, with Grozdanov ending the run at 25 to 13. THIRD SET Keita unlocks the third set, but it’s Sapozhkov who takes the stage again with a wall that exalts everyone present. The Tuscan team does not give up and replies with its best performers, but Mosca dampens the Sienese enthusiasm by stamping the 6 to 4. The Mozic-Keita duo becomes the protagonist of excellent shots, which allow Verona to build a considerable margin of advantage. A pipe from Mozic is worth 10-5, with the Slovenian putting the visiting rearguard in serious difficulty with an incisive service. Keita also pushes in serve, folding his hands to Bonami and his companions with two consecutive aces, which mark the extension (16-9). Pinali tries to shock his team with a direct point from nine metres. Sapozhkov unleashes his fury and stamps the 18-12 with an elusive diagonal. Mozic is no less and from the second line he doesn’t save himself. The mistake of his brother in art Ngapeth sends the Gialloblù up 23-15. The Tuscans close the gap with Pinali, but the fraction ends in favor of the hosts.


In the fourth set, the white-blues start with the right attitude, taking up 2-3. Verona’s response is immediate with the Sapozhkov-Keita tandem, before Grozdanov finds the ace of 5 to 3. The Veronese create a discreet advantage, which the guests try to reduce. Mozic and Keita raise their voices again, restoring distances (10-6). Verona’s game is fluid and this pays off. The attack works, both in the center and in the flank, with Sapozhkov signing 17 to 9. The Russian has no brakes and hits hard even in the following exchanges. With a hand out the new entrant Cortesia finds the match point. Finally, a ball out of Pinelli gives WithU Verona three golden points.

Coach Stoytchev’s words at the end of the match: “First of all, I’m delighted with Mads’ return to the field, who was phenomenal in his recovery. Today we started subdued and we made a few mistakes too many. Then we started pushing and built up a really good lead. Blocking and attack worked, and consequently all the other fundamentals.”