Posts by andrea

    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.

    When the match progress was completely out of Perugia's favor (1. Leon was out of shape; 2. consistent, immense service pressure from opponents), I'm very surprised that Anastasi didn't send Herrera on court in set 2 when Piacenza closed the 5-point deficit. Apart from Leon, Herrera is the other player in the squad who has the capability of turning a match around, and it's been already proven this season. It's a normal decision for most coaches to start with Rychlicki considering that he's more consistent and makes less mistakes and there's already Leon in the starting lineup, but when a team as strong as Perugia is losing momentum to such an extent, maintaining consistency is no longer the top priority for the coach. To me, Anastasi lost this match without even trying.

    Not a big fan of Blengini, but his substitutions in set 4 are critical of Lube's come-from-behind victory against Piacenza. Since Zaytsev was not ineffective in set 4, Blengini replaced the starters with Gabi and Diamantini (to maintain 3 local players on court). At 20:21, Lube was stuck at a rotation with only two quality spikers with Diamantini being a non-factor in offense. Blengini decisively sent Chinenyeze back to play an effective decoy for the spikers on both wings, while Lube still managed to keep both liberos on court for those few points.

    Does anyone know how the matchup of Coppa Italia quarterfinals is determined? Is it based on the final ranking of the last season, the ranking of the current season up to a certain date, or something else?

    Watched Milano v Cisterna during this opening week of the new season of Superlega. It's too early to make conclusions of any team's strength, but here's my observation on Cisterna:

    1. They seem to strike the right balance in the OH lineup. Last season, Maar was very good at attack, but no one (Maar, Rinaldi, Raphaelli and L) in the team was good passers, making the team very vulnerable to lose momentum in a game. Both Sedlacek and Kaliberda are known for a stable reception. They also have Bayram to complete the OH lineup.
    2. The coach finally gives up on having both front-row OHs spiking from Pos 4 in all rotations. This tactic essentially took out a strong attack point from the opposite player when he stands at Pos 4, as there's only one occasion I recall Dirlic was given the set after he ran from Pos 4 to Pos 2. Dirlic has proven that he can still spike effectively even at the off-hand position, and the reinforced Kaliberda can spike from the right side well.
    3. Their bench seems really thin this season. Apart from having 3 OHs who can be used in rotations, there are almost no usable bench players.

    What about japan tho did they also got 0 points or lost some points?

    Only winning teams can earn points. Points gained by a winning team = points lost by a losing team. Technically, the smallest point a winning team can earn is 0.01 point; it's arbitrarily set by the ranking system. It happens when pre-match statistics shows that the higher-ranking team should win by, say, 3:1, and then that team under-performs and manages to win only by, say, 3:2. The losing team, even though they perform better than the statistical prediction, does not pick up points (indeed loses 0.01 point to be precise) because there's a rule stating that only a winner team can win points.