This post is meant to give a quick introduction to Italian SuperLega from someone who has spent far too much time watching and analyzing the league. It will be especially helpful for English speaking fans who are trying to follow from North America but I’m sure any fan of the SuperLega will find some insight (or something to disagree with at least). without further ado:
The majority of the games are on Sundays, with some Wednesdays thrown in there. Every team plays at 6pm local time (or 8:30 on Wednesdays), which is noon for those of us on the east coast and 9am for those on the west. Games that are broadcast on the national Italian network (generally one a week) can be on any day. The league is about a quarter of the way through, you can check the game stats/standings after the fact at http://www.legavolley.it. I find the “Regular Season e PlayOff” section under “Calendario” to be the easiest place to check box scores. I watch the games on elevensports.it, which you have to pay for, but if you don’t care about watching live there are one or two infamous vball youtube channels that will generally have the games, albeit with dozens of watermarks.
4 interesting story-lines to follow
- The teams you need to watch at least once are Perugia and Modena. Modena has two of the best players in the world in the amazing and enigmatic [Earvin Ngapeth] and Brazillian superstar Bruno. Perugia is the first place team who has only dropped one game this entire season. Not set, game. They basically have an all-star team, but American sweetheart Aaron Russell has been particularly impressive. These teams square off on December 17th so mark it on your calendars.
- This dude Nimir Abdel-Aziz, a Dutch former setter, is absolutely crushing it after barely playing in the world league. He’s averaging 6.21 points/game, a full point/game higher than the second-best player, mostly on huge serves and powerful cball attacks that often result in a tool. While he can be moody, he’ll be a force in volleyball for the next few years and someone you should definitely check out.
- Americans are crushing it in the Italian league this season. I already mentioned Aaron Russell, but Max Holt on Modena deserves some praise too. Micah Christenson and Taylor Sander have had their usual connection leading Lube to a 6-1 record. The Shoji brothers, while not on the best teams, have been playing some really solid ball. Unfortunately, Ben Patch and Thomas Jaeschke haven’t been playing up to expectations, but it takes some time to adjust to playing pro. It will be interesting to see if the new American league being started up has a chance of keeping any of them home.
- The tragedy of Diatec Trentino. This team was supposed to rule the league along with Perugia, Modena and Lube but they’ve sputtered out of the gate to 11th place and a 2-5 record. They have three Italian national team starters in Simone Gianelli, Filippo Lanza, and Luca Vettori along with Brazillian middle Eder and Serbian lefty star Uros Kovacevic. On paper, this is a top team, but as anyone can tell you talent alone isn’t enough to win in volleyball. Will Trentino redeem themselves? Or let down one of the most passionate fanbases in the league.
Anyway, hope you guys find this post useful and is enough to get you somewhat caught up with the league. Might do some more of these in the future if there is interest.
Tl;dr Professional volleyball is cool and you should watch it so I have people to talk about it with