Modena has had a very tough 2017-18 season. After setting up a roster with pieces that seemed perfect at the time, with Bruno Rezende, Earvin Ngapeth, and Maxwell Holt, just to give some examples, with the tutelage of one of the world’s most successful volleyball coaches, Radostin Stoytchev, the team thought it was bound to winning everything in sight. That is, until a horrible feud between Bruno, Ngapeth, and coach Stoytchev completely destroyed the team’s chemistry, and resulted in Ngapeth’s announcement that he’d leave the team after the end of the season, even if his contract bounded him to the team for the next two years.
In the regular season, the team achieved a less than ideal 20-6 record, good enough for third place behind Civitanova and Perugia. In its quarterfinal match-up against Milano, Modena suffered horribly to beat the 6th seeded team 3-2 in their first game and 3-1 in the second match-up. On to the semifinals, it lost its first game to Civitanova, narrowly escaped with a win in the second game, only to find defeat again in the third game. Now facing elimination, it will play for its life this Sunday, in a win or go home situation.
The team’s fans penned a letter to the club showing just how passionate they are, pleading with the team for them to not give up (Gazzetta.it):
“Let’s be clear on one thing: WE WANT TO THIS SCUDETTO.
We want it absolutely and at all costs, and we will be there to remind our adversaries, but especially to remind our team. And we want it more than any other year, because in this season the suffering linked to injuries, discussions in the locker rooms, discussions in the stands, controversies in general, has made everything enormously difficult.
We have never given up even in the darkest years, when we did not objectively have the cards in hand to prevail against other teams, but this year the cards are all there. It is not time to give up, it is not the time to turn off the lights at PalaPanini Arena; now is the time to put all the strength we have, clenching fists and jaws with anger and pride. It’s time to turn frustration and difficulty into survival instinct and find a will that we do not even imagine we have.
Let’s put it on your head, legs, arms, and eyes: The greatest opponent we have to beat is that monster that sometimes manages to enter the field with you, a virus that infects you one by one, taking away lucidity and determination and leaving you at the mercy of negative emotions. There is no one who can defeat you if you decide you want to win. Modena will be there with you. Look at those fans, look at their eyes, huggin each other, screaming and driving the monster away from the field. Decide that no, today the virus stay out, out of the field, out of the building, because today we will make history.
Let yourself be infected by our determination, we warriors in life, we who always believe that the impossible is possible. Let’s take this revenge, it’s there in front of us. Just think for a moment what it would be like to win this year.
The city is in stand by mode, a community that counts down: “how are you?” “Eeeh …”: everything is suspended, everything is postponed. Modenesi of all ages will find themselves attending the training sessions, a bit to support the team, a bit to be together and a little because in the head there is only Modena. The PalaPanini will be a sort of magnet, the navel of the world in these days of passion. And when it is finally Sunday we will all be there, with our fears and our hopes, but sure, certain and determined for this battle to continue.”
Needless to say, Italian fans are something else.
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GIVING UP IS OUT OF QUESTION!! We know every day is a new battle but we are ready for fight! Lose is part of the game so always forward! It's time to concentrate and work hard to the next challenge. We will fight until the last point. It's a promise: tutti insieme, fino alla fine. Noi amiamo ognuno di voi. 💙💛👊 @modenavolley #azimutmodenavolley #avantigialli #noisiamolasquadra #GOMODENA #tuttiinsieme #finoallafine