WithU Verona fights, suffers and finally triumphs in the last round of the first part of the season, winning on the Top Volley Cisterna field at the end of a challenge that gave one emotion after another. Stoytchev’s team collects two vitally important points that certify the arrival in the top four at the halfway point and consequently the dispute of the Del Monte Coppa Italia within the friendly walls. Great performance by the offensive trio of wonders Keita-Mozic-Sapozhkov, who finished with an overall tally of 65 points. Excellent performance from nine metres, with a total of 14 aces, while the Gialloblù troop blocked their opponents 11 times against the block.
In the starting sextet, coach Stoytchev relies on the players who defeated Siena in the last round. Then Spirito dribbled, Sapozhkov in the opposite role, the Mozic-Keita couple in the band, with Mosca and Grozdanov as central players and Gaggini as libero. The game unlocks with a winning parallel from Dirlic, but Verona responds immediately thanks to an ace from Keita, who replies shortly after, sending his team up 1-6. The visitors maintain a five-point lead with Sapozhkov’s hands-out. Then Mozic raises his voice even when blocking, hitting the point of 10 to 5. The Gialloblù take off with two consecutive blocks by Keita, but the Veronese fury is unleashed from nine meters with Sapozhkov who kicks off the long series, continued by Mozic, capable of putting four aces in a row. Verona takes the lead, closing the first set on 25 to 13.
Driven by the desire for redemption, the hosts return to the field motivated, managing to establish themselves in the initial stages of the second set. A block by Zingel makes it 5-1, Keita tries to break the slipstream of his opponents with an ace, but Sedlacek’s two consecutive batting points bring Cisterna up 12-4. Verona struggles to find a reaction and the local troop tries to dig the furrow. The Gialloblù shorten the gap slightly thanks to Sapozhkov, who brings his team back to -4 (17-13). Top Volley finds a consistent margin of advantage going up 22 to 17. Verona does not give up and reduces the gap with an ace from captain Rapha (23-21). Keita keeps his hopes alive, but Sedlacek knocks down the point that marks the end of the set.
Dirlic stamps the first point of the third fraction, to which Mozic replies with a winning pipe. The Slovenian also hurts from place 4, Kaliberda sends his team forward, but Keita signs the overtaking (4-5). The match stands on the tracks of balance, with the two teams responding blow by blow. WithU puts its face forward thanks to yet another ace from Sapozhkov (10-11), also good at picking up Rapha’s suggestion immediately afterwards. Coach Soli’s boys stay hooked and overturn the score with Kaliberda, good at placing even an ace that is worth the break (16-15). From nine meters Staforini signs the +3, but Verona returns below (18-17). The locals extend to 22 to 18. The Gialloblù regain confidence by closing a long exchange in their favour, but the opponents put an end to the partial at 25 to 20.
Back on the pitch, it was Grozdanov who grounded the first ball, with Keita good at playing with the opponent’s block and posting the 2-1, before also placing the ace. Sedlacek brings the match back to a draw, but Verona finds a break, which projects it to 5-8, led by Sapozhkov. Baranowicz shortens the distance from nine meters, but it is still the Russian opposite who pierces the home defense, with an impregnable long line (8-10). Stoytchev’s team maintains a discrete lead, but Cisterna reacts and hooks them up 13-13. Mozic roars in the band and Sapozhkov returns to dominate the block, sending Verona up 15-18. Verona finds continuity and with Grozdanov’s ace extends to 17-22. Lazio try to recover, but Spirito and teammates but Mosca find a great first half that closes the set (20-25). Everything is decided at the tie-break.
Grozdanov’s wall opens the last partial. The landlords overtake, but Mozic makes a big voice under the net, signing two points of excellent workmanship that are worth 4-6. The Slovenian signs the extension on 5-8. Mosca puts his hand to the block, but then the newcomer Gutierrez goes wild on serve, signing three aces in a row that overturn the score (11-10). Keita brings the game back to a tie at 12-12 thanks to two winning attacks. Grozdanov will take care of closing the accounts with a super monster-block. What a win for Verona.
Coach Stoytchev’s words at the end of the match: “After unlocking the game in the first set, we had a bit of trouble in the next two, but having fixed some things we resumed playing as we know how. In the tie-break we remained focused and clear-headed even after the three aces conceded and we brought home a deserved victory. Sometimes it happens that we go under stress when we are down by a few points, so we have to work to always play smoothly. For me today the MVP is the whole group, who played like a real team”.