The adventure of WithU Verona in these Play Offs Scudetto ends in the quarter-finals, but the enormous pride in a team that has been able to give one emotion after another in an extraordinary series remains. Stoytchev’s boys stood up to the Italian champions in five intense games, confirming a great team spirit already demonstrated during the Regular Season. In the last act of the confrontation with Cucine Lube Civitanova the three tenors of the Scala attack finished in double figures: 17 points for Keita, 14 for Sapozhkov and 12 for Mozic. Once the dream of flying to the Semifinal has faded, the gialloblù team will face Play Offs for 5th place with total awareness of their own means. The new stage of the season will kick off on March 16 against a currently unknown opponent.
In the starting sextet, coach Stoytchev confirms the diagonal made up of Spirito in the control room and Sapozhkov in the opposite role. In the band space for the couple formed by Mozic and Keita, in the center there are Mosca and Grozdanov, while Gaggini is free. The match opens with Yant’s hands-out, then it is Sapozhkov who finds the first point in favor of the guests. The cooks immediately try to draw with Zaytsev’s block and Yant’s ace (5-1). The Russian takes his hands and plays the charge playing well twice with the hands of the block (9-3). Moscow’s soft touch against the block halves the disadvantage (10-5). Verona reacts thanks to Mozic, who scores three consecutive points, also blocking Nikolov by block (12-10). La Lube tries to escape again, but a good series in the Slovenian’s service and a monster block by Keita allow the Scala to bring themselves to just one point (16-15). New +3 from the locals, which with Bottolo’s ace flies to 21-17. Grozdanov restores the charge to him at the end of the first set, but the hosts unlock the match with a score of 25-19.
Back on the pitch, Keita takes center stage with two points in a row. In this start of the set, the challenge is in perfect balance, with the cunning touch of Spirito worth 3-5. From nine meters Mozic puts the red and white rearguard in difficulty and the yellow and blues increase their advantage thanks to Keita’s diagonal attack for 4-8. Stoytchev’s boys keep the four-length lead with an excellent understanding between the departments. The match is lively and Lube closes the gap after a contested video check that doesn’t award points to anyone (12-13). Nikolov stamps the ace in the conflict zone and equalizes the partial (14-14). The balance is not broken, but the troops from the Marche put their face forward thanks to the attack by Zaytsev (18-17). Gaggini puts wings on Garcia’s serve and Mozic takes advantage of it for 19-19. La Lube goes back up by two, but the Scala players don’t give up and put the fraction back in a draw with Keita (21-21). It goes on point by point, then the hosts put the seal on the set.
Yant proves to be a thorn in his side and kicks off the third set. The Gialloblù reaction was immediate, but Zaytsev blocked Keita against a block for the 3-1. At the first ball touched Cortesia finds the winning hole in the center and Verona tries the extension (3-5). To Zaytsev’s ace there is the leader’s response from Mozic, who prints two blocks of applause (6-8). He still holds up the dam erected by Verona and becomes four lengths ahead (7-11). Chinenyeze wakes him up, who first shorten the distance and then even the score with Nikolov’s pipe (12-12). First half on the ground for Cortesia, who anticipates Keita’s lob and the guests gain a two-point lead again (13-15). La Lube tries to reopen the games, but Keita dampens the enthusiasm with a block calibrated to the millimeter (17-20). The hosts are back on their heels with a diagonal from Nikolov, but Keita and Sapozhkov put the gialloblù back on track. Then Nikolov and Yant come on again and give the victory and the passage of the round to Blengini’s team.