Italian Semi Finals – Game 3

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The first cracks in Trento’s title charge appeared on Sunday as they lost at home to Macerata.  Not only was it an important playoff loss, but one the second 0-3 result at home since March 2007!  Macerata were led by an excellent performance from setter Vermiglio, while Trento for the first time really feeling the loss of starting setter Raphael.  His replacement Zygadlo was apparently a bit wobbly in places and had some problem connecting with Kaziyski, while their normally strong block only made 5 direct points.  However, they still hold a 2-1 lead in the series and retain home court advantage.  The only spanner in the works is the upcoming Champions League Final Four which would be between games 4 and 5 of the semi finals and reduce the preparation time for V-Day.  The Trento president has already broached the subject of not playing Champions League if it will negatively effect the challenge for the League title.

The other semi stands at 2-1 for Cuneo, with setter Grbic leading them to a 3-1 win at home to Treviso.  It was not a straight forward victory though, with Treviso leading the fourth set 24-22 before allowing Cuneo to get over the line 29-27.

If Trento and Cuneo both make the final it will be a rare (in Italy) occurrence of the first and second placed teams are the regular season winning through to the championships decider.  In contrast to other leagues it is common for lower placed teams to fight through to the finals and not unheard for 8th to beat 1st in the quarter finals.  The two teams also met in the Cup Final earlier this season, with Trento victorious on that occasion.

Stats for the two matches are here and here.

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