The final act of the Del Monte® Coppa Italia returns to the Palazzo dello Sport in Rome for the fourth time in the history of the competition.
In the 1994/95 Final Four it was Modena Volley, under the name Daytona at the time, who won 3-1 in the showdown with Sisley Treviso.
Treviso itself was then defeated by Cuneo in Final Four 1998/99, in just 3 sets. In the third Roman Final of the Coppa Italia it was Trento who celebrated the conquest of the trophy, able to recover from a two set disadvantage against Cucine Lube to then win at tie break.
And then the 2022/23 edition, with the top four competing for the trophy on the weekend of Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 February: Sir Safety Susa Perugia, Itas Trentino, Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza and Allianz Milano…as in the previous one season!
And it had only happened in the 2018/19 and 2019/20 editions that two Semifinals coincided perfectly (even as pairings) with those of the previous year: at the time, Perugia-Modena and Civitanova-Trento.
Sir Safety Susa Perugia, winner of the Word Club Championship in Betim and titleholder of the Del Monte® Supercoppa 2022/23 won in Cagliari, will face Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza, a rather reworked team compared to last season that continues to aim higher and higher, while in the other Semifinal, Itas Trentino, vice-World Champion, will fight again with Allianz Milano, a club in its second participation in an Italian Cup Final Four in the club’s history.
In the 2021/22 edition, Perugia and Trento won above all thanks to their more experience, overcoming their rivals in three sets and four sets respectively, at the end of two rather hard-fought matches.
In the Final on Sunday 6 March, Perugia won the first two sets, then repelling rival’s comeback attempt, also thanks to plays by MVP Wilfredo Leon.
The Palazzo dello Sport in Rome will host eight athletes from the World Champion Italian national team: the Captain Simone Giannelli, together with Roberto Russo will compete in the Sir Safety Susa Perugia jersey, to which is added Alessandro Piccinelli, European Champion 2021/22. On the other side of the net, they will face three players with Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza’s jersey, Yuri Romanò, Leonardo Scanferla and Francesco Recine.
Among Itas Trentino, Sbertoli, Lavia and Michieletto, but also Gabriele Laurenzano (European Under 20 Champion). Allianz Milano will instead line up Paolo Porro, the Under 22 European champion setter.
But that’s not all, because the President of the Italian Republic will also be present at the final on Sunday,
Sergio Mattarella, a great volleyball fan!
For the winners, also a pass to the 2023/24 Del Monte® Super Cup: the two teams that will overcome the obstacle of the Semifinals will detach a ticket for access to the next edition of the competition, the first event of the next season.
If one (or both) of the finalists were to qualify for the Super Cup in another way (with access to the Scudetto Finals), they would proceed “to climb” in order of placement in the Regular Season.
Ok…in details…what about Sir Safety Susa Perugia?
Absolute leaders in 2022/23 Superlega CredemBanca, passes the quarterfinals by beating Top Volley Cisterna, as prediction, 3-0.
But the guys around head coach Andrea Anastasi also started the ongoing season in a perfect way, displaying in their showcase the Italian Super Cup in the Final Four in Cagliari, and also the Club World Cup in the Final Six in Betim in Brazil.
Five new entries in the squad compared to the previous season: with last year’s pillars confirmed, setter Giannelli, middleblockers Solè, Russo and Mengozzi, outside hitters Leon and Plotnytskyi, opposite Rychlicki and both liberi Colaci and Piccinelli, the club of the president Sirci has hired great athletes such as the Polish outside hitter Semeniuk, a pillar of his national team, world silver medalist and best player of last season’s Champions League with the Zaksa’s jersey, the Brazilian middleblocker Flavio, world bronze medalist and last season in Vibo Valentia, and the setter of the Slovenian national team Ropret, last season in Cambrai Volley, French Ligue A. The Cuban duo also comes from the French championship to complete the roster, with the opposite left-handed Herrera from Chaumont and the young outside hitter Cardenas, from Tourcoing Lille Metropole.
In the Italian Cup, before this, Perugia boasts 11 participations.
10 in Italian Cup in top division, in the seasons 2021/222 (winner in the final against Itas Trentino), 2020/21 (defeated in the Final by Cucine Lube Civitanova), 2019/20 (defeat in the Final by Cucine Lube Civitanova, again), 2018/19 (winner in the Final against Cucine Lube Civitanova), 2017/18 (winner in the Final against Cucine Lube Civitanova), 2016/17 (eliminated in the Quarterfinals by LPR Piacenza), 2015/16 (eliminated in the Semifinal by DHL Modena), 2014/15 (eliminated in the Semifinal by Diatec Trentino), 2013/14 (defeated in the Final by Copra Elior Piacenza), and 2012/13 (eliminated in the Quarterfinals by Itas Diatec Trentino).
And 1 in the A2 Italian Cup in the 2011/12 season, eliminated in the Semifinal by BCC-NEP Castellana Grotte.
As already mentioned above, 3 trophies won: in 2018/19 and 2017/18 against Cucine Lube Civitanova and in 2021/22 against Itas Trentino.
But we are forced also to mention one thing: Perugia at this moment, while I’m writing this article, boasted a record of 33 wins in a row counting all competitions…through 33 games played so far!
Fifth in the Superlega standings, Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza won the quarterfinals by beating WithU Verona on the road at the tie break.
It is a team that has revolutionized compared to last season, and which in recent months has decided to interrupt the relationship with head coach Lorenzo Bernardi. Massimo Botti, his assistant, was promoted in his place.
It is the fourth consecutive season in SuperLega for the team of President Elisabetta Curti who, in the summer, continued the strengthening work: nine new arrivals, and five players from last season confirmed, including the World Champions Leonardo Scanferla and Francesco Recine, to which was added another World Champion, Yuri Romanò.
A welcome return was Robertlandy Simon, the Cuban international who, after nine years, returned to the city in which made his debut in Italian league.
To complete the middleblockers department the confirmed Edoardo Caneschi and Enrico Cester, to which has been added another Cuban international, Roamy Alonso.
A new face also in the setter department: the Dutch international Freek De Weijer, in addition to the confirmed Antoine Brizard in his second season in Italy and who will remain in Piacenza for another three seasons after extending his contract in recent weeks. Libero is Leonardo Scanferla, confirmed by the last season too, together with the young Nicolò Hoffer, last year in serie A2.
New faces among the spikers, and only Francesco Recine remained from last season: together with him, the Brazilians Yoandy Leal from Modena and Ricardo Lucarelli from Civitanova Marche, the young Fabrizio Gironi from Taranto, the French Luka Basic from Vibo Valentia and Yuri Romanò from Milano.
3 participations in the Italian Cup, before this one, for Piacenza: 2 in the top division, in the 2021/22 seasons (defeat in the Semifinal by Sir Safety Conad Perugia) and 2020/21, (4th position out of 4 in Group B of the Round of 16 ), and 1 in the A2 Italian Cup, 2018/19 season (winner in the Final against Olimpia Bergamo, the only trophy won).
Sixth in the standings, Itas Trentino wins the quarterfinals beating Valsa Group Modena on the road in four sets.
After getting on the podium both at the Club World Championship and in the italian Super Cup, they arrive at the final part of the season still in the running in all the remaining competitions: SuperLega, Champions League and Italian Cup.
From the 2009/10 season up to the current one, Trento has never failed to qualify for the Semifinals!
And the historic goal is even more important if we take into account that the club has been the only one to always get the pass for the Final Four in the last fourteen editions!
Head coach Angelo Lorenzetti’s team will arrive in Rome being able to count on a very good level squad, which has already played thirty-three official matches this season and which can count on the experience of veterans Kaziyski, Podrascanin and Lisinac, but also on three World Champions Lavia, Michieletto and Sbertoli, and an ambitious Laurenzano, the youngest Libero among the four protagonists of the competition.
21 participations in the Italian Cup in the top division: in the seasons 2021/22 (defeat in the Final by Sir Safety Conad Perugia), 2020/21 (defeat in the Semifinal by Sir Safety Conad Perugia), 2019/20 (defeat in the Semifinal by Cucine Lube Civitanova ), 2018/19 (defeat in the Semifinal by Cucine Lube Civitanova), 2017/18 (defeat in the Semifinal by Sir Safety Conad Perugia), 2016/17 (defeat in the Final by Cucine Lube Civitanova), 2015/16 (defeat in the Final by DHL Modena), 2014/15 (defeat in the Final by Modena Volley), 2013/14 (eliminated in the Semifinal by Copra Elior Piacenza), 2012/13 (winner in the Final against Cucine Lube Banca Marche Macerata), 2011/12 (winner in the Final against Lube Banca Marche Macerata), 2010/11 (defeat in the Final by Bre Banca Lannutti Cuneo), 2009/11 (winner in the Final against Bre Banca Lannutti Cuneo), 2008/09 (eliminated in the Quarterfinals by Sisley Treviso), 2007/08 (eliminated in the Quarter Finals by Sisley Treviso), 2005/0 6 (eliminated in the Semifinals by Bre Banca Lannutti Cuneo), 2004/05 (eliminated in the Quarterfinals by Sisley Treviso), 2003/04 (eliminated in the Quarterfinals by Noicom Brebanca Cuneo), 2002/03 (eliminated in the Quarterfinals by Lube Banca Marche Macerata), 2001/02 (eliminated in the Semifinal by Noicom Brebanca Cuneo), 2000/01 (eliminated in the Quarterfinals of the preliminary phase by Noicom Brebanca Cuneo).
3 trophies won: 2012/13 and 2011/12 against Lube Banca Marche Macerata, 2009/10 against Bre Banca Lannutti Cuneo.
Close the picture Allianz Milano, seventh in Superlega standings, which wins the quarterfinals beating the super favorite Cucine Lube Civitanova on the road.
Having closed the 2021/22 season with the extraordinary result of the pass for the Final Four of last edition of Italian Cup, Milano started the new season with several confirmations: in addition to head coach Roberto Piazza, in his fourth season as coach of the club, Milano can count on captain Matteo Piano, best block scorer of last season, the talented setter Paolo Porro, the French opposite Jean Patry, the captain of the Japanese national team Yuki Ishikawa and the libero Nicola Pesaresi.
Among the new faces there are instead the Argentine middle-blocker Agustin Loser, bronze medal at Tokyo 2020, from Tourcoing Lille Métropole, the outside hitter and captain of the Iranian national team Milad Ebadipour (from Skra Belchatow, Poland), the Italian middle blocker Marco Vitelli (from Pallavolo Padova), the Cuban Osniel Mergarejo, top scorer of the French Ligue A championship, outside hitter last season in Chaumont, the Puerto Rican talent Klistan Lawrence (opposite from the Long Beach High School), and two young Federico Bonacchi, and Luca Colombo.
In the current season, another young middle-blocker, Francesco Fusaro, from Motta di Livenza (Serie A2), joined the club.
5 participations in the Italian Cup, before this one, all 5 in the Italian top division: in the seasons 2021/22 (eliminated in the Semifinal by Itas Trentino), 2020/21 (eliminated in the Quarterfinals by Itas Trentino), 2019/ 20 (again, eliminated in the quarter-finals by Itas Trentino), 2018/19 (eliminated in the quarter-finals by Azimut Leo Shoes Modena), 2017/18 (eliminated in the round of 16 by Calzedonia Verona).