Posts by andrea

    D'amico, Verona's L, passed really well in the game vs Perugia. He already showed an impressive performance last season as Lube's second libero. I think he deserves at least a trial in the coming NT season.

    Has Ben Tara changed his sports nationality to Polish? IIRC, he hasn't represented Tunisia again after Tokyo Olympics. He is really solid and mature, with well-rounded offense and superb blocking skills.

    Retrospectively speaking, while Belgium has been (understandably) choking the whole match, originally they still could have taken down Bulgaria in the final moment when they leveled 13:13. What’s unexpected is that it’s Penchev burying their hope with a challenging OOS spike and then a block point. That’s not his normal standard :-)

    Since last year, Giani has been constantly using Jouffroy as a serving specialist, who either faulted or created no troubles to opponents' reception. What's the point of this robotic substitution??

    Also, making only 5 blocks in such a long game is a really bad performance at the net, considering the physicality of this USA team. (OTOH, kudos to De Cecco's setting again:obey:)

    Congrats to Argentina winning this match. Despite making some uncharacteristic serve mistakes, De Cecco's craftiness and talents in setting cannot be paralleled.

    On the other hand, Anderson was obviously tired in the 5th set. Unfortunately, he could hardly take a rest given the depth of the opposite position.

    Wow, Argentina vs Brazil this match is a must watch. Very high level volleyball with lots of rallies. Such a great game. Now we're going to 5!

    Yeah, what an intense match. Argentina spoiled another chance to beat Brazil.

    OTOH, it looks like Brazil's coaching squad intends to limit Alan's court time, considering what happened last year.

    So the visa issue is resolved?

    Epic free fall from Perugia. Losing to Monza at home tops the team's all defeats this season in the surprise category, considering that Monza is less competitive as an opponent.

    What a difficult victory for Lube today. Facing an opponent that IMHO is stronger than them, somehow they managed to turn an impossible-to-win situation around with tremendous tenacity, and a bit of luck (nothing to discredit Lube's effort at all, but in sports, you always need some luck to emerge victorious in such a close contest).

    Lube's offensive trio is composed of two strong OHs, Nikolov and Yant, plus an okay (attack-wise) OPP in Zaytsev. Facing Verona's trio, Keita, Mozic and Sapozhkov, I can feel that Verona's attack line is one level higher. Keita and Sapozhkov's attack can be rated as a barbaric level, and even the best scorer of Superlega last season, Mozic, has become the "weakest" among this trio. The evolution of volleyball rules, the ball and the introduction of these giant players really make the skill factor fade out a lot in today's volleyball.

    Obviously, De Cecco's setting has been less precise than his past. From my observation, his level has dropped slightly since last season likely due to his age. However, it's hard to compare his level this year against last year's, when decent receivers like Lucarelli, Juantorena and Kovar being replaced by Nikolov and Bottolo. While each rally in a volleyball match is independent in terms of scoring, it's not like that mentality-wise. When a setter is constantly under huge pressure to make rescue sets throughout a match, even the most skillful setter can make subpar sets in occasional perfect reception.

    In the beginning of the season, I recall Zaytsev had reception duties (not just when he's at pos 1) in a couple of games (has he ever played as OH this season?). The outcome was not satisfactory. Since then Blengini never used Zaytsev to help in reception again even with Nikolov being such an easy serve target, until the last two matches. One key difference accounting for this sudden success (he received in 5 out of 6 rotations!) is that Zaytsev was off-loaded from back-row attacks whilst fully focused at reception. It's too demanding to ask Zaytsev to take a lead role in attack and reception at the same time, after all.

    Both teams are not expected to have good reception with this lineup and crazy serves. Keita's reception skills are really poor. For jump serves significantly slowed down after touching the net, he still made reception errors. Gaggini is the only stable reception link both sides considered. He's a backup at Monza last year, but has grown so much in just one year.

    Speaking of the luck factor, among so many momentum shifts, of course Yant's serve rotation at the end of set 3 can be hardly neglected. Off the court, I think Lube is lucky to have D'amico as the 2nd libero this season. If Lube has got someone at the same level as who they had last two seasons, they essentially have no chance to go neck and neck with opponents as strong as Verona.

    Perhaps Nikolov inherited this ability from his father to be so effective to attack at the right wing? I think he may try the OPP role at NT, when there's no Zaytsev who can liberate him from reception. I still remember Nikolov was aced by Semeniuk's four consecutive, identical serves at VNL last year. Reception is a skill that relies on both ball control and talent so much. Ball control can be improved over time, but the ceiling is defined by the player's talent. Nikolov has little improvement in reception after one full NT and club season. He will become better, but unlikely improve to an okay level in 1-2 years. Moving him to OPP with occassional participation in reception may alleviate the pain that there're no good receivers among Bulgaria's new generation.