Saturday, March 4th, will begin the playoffs of the Italian men’s superleague with a pair of quarterfinal matchups.
- Sir Safety Perugia – LPR Piacenza (Saturday, March 4th, 20:30 local time, Direct League Volleyball Channel)
- Modena – Verona (Saturday March 4th, 20:30 local time, Direct League Volleyball Channel)
- Cucine Lube Civitanova – Tonno Callipo Calabria Vibo Valentina (Sunday, March 5th, 15:00 local time, Direct RAI Sport, http://www.raisport.rai.it/)
- Diatec Trentino – Gi Groupa Monza (Sunday, March 5th, 18:00 local time, Direct League Volleyball Channel)
The defending champions from Modena will open up their tournament against Verona on Saturday evening. Modena, behind leading scorer Earvin Ngapeth (362 points), placed just 4th in the regular season this year. While in theory, as the 4-5 matchup, this should be the most competitive of the opening round, and while that may be true, neither of their regular season matchups were: Modena won the first 3-0 in November, while Verona won by the reverse score a month ago.
The same story is true for the matchup between Trentino and Gi Groupa Monza on Sunday, with a pair of 3-0 splits.
Regular-season league leaders Civitanova will open their playoffs against Valentina on Sunday afternoon. On paper, this is the most lopsided affair, with Civitanova combining for a 6-1 margin in the teams’ regular season matchups.
The other matchup will be between Perugia and Piacenza on Saturday, the opening game of the tournament. That game will feature Piacenza’s Cuban import Fernando Hernandez Ramos, who was 2nd only to Sabbi Giulio in points this season (564-563). With Giulio’s Molfetta team out of the playoffs, that leaves Ramos as the top scorer in the tournament.
Piacenza also led the league as a team in blocks, points, and service receiving, making them the most dangerous underdog in the tournament (though they’ll have to clean up the number of errors after 477 service and 236 attack errors in just 104 sets in the regular season in the regular season).