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Giannelli celebrates a point with Rychlicki, the match's top scorer

The Most Valuable Player of the 2022 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship, Simone Giannelli led Sir Safety Susa Perugia to a promising debut in the 2022-2023 SuperLega Credem Banca on Sunday.

With the 26-year-old setter running the show, last season’s Italian League runners-up dominated Vero Volley Monza to a straight-set (25-19, 25-21, 25-18) victory at home to start the season on the right foot.

Sir Safety Susa Perugia vs. Vero Volley Monza - Match Highlights

· Watch all SuperLega matches live on or on demand on Volleyball TV.

Opposite Kamil Rychlicki was the top scorer in Perugia’s victory as the Luxembourg-born athlete tallied 16 points, with 11 kills, one block and four aces. A new signing for Perugia this season, Pole outside hitter Kamil Semeniuk, who was selected for the World Championship Dream Team, also had an excellent match, registering ten points (nine kills, one ace) and hitting at a 90% efficiency rate.

The best server of the World Championship, Ukrainian outside hitter Oleh Plotnytskyi left the court with 12 points (nine kills, one block, two aces) and was awarded as the match’s MVP.

“We played a good match,” Plotnytskyi reflected. “Obviously, it’s the first match of the season, so not everything was perfect, but we fought as a team from the first to the last point and that was important. We had a difficult moment at the start of the second set in which we couldn’t find our rhythm, but luckily, we were able to overcome it.”

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Plotnytskyi faces Monza's triple block

Fully recovered from a knee injury that kept him out of the World Championship, Pole star outside hitter Wilfredo Leon was available for selection to Perugia’s coach Andrea Anastasi, but didn’t enter the match.

Monza had two players reaching double digits in scoring – German opposite György Grozer, who produced 12 points (all in kills), and Canadian outside hitter Stephen Maar, who had ten, all earned in offence as well.

Defending champions Cucine Lube Civitanova also had a good start to their season. On Saturday, the team coached by Gianlorenzo Blengini went on the road and topped Gioiella Prisma Taranto in three sets (25-23, 25-23, 25-21). Playing as an outside hitter, Italian veteran Ivan Zaytsev led the team with ten points (eight kills, one block, one ace), but his former Italian national team partner and Taranto’s outside hitter Oleg Antonov led all scorers with 14 (12 kills, two aces).

Gioiella Prisma Taranto vs. Cucine Lube Civitanova - Match Highlights

Also on Saturday, Pallavolo Padova used homecourt advantage to upset Valsa Group Modena and secure a five-set (25-22, 16-25, 25-17, 23-25, 15-11) victory. Serbian opposite Dusan Petkovic led the team’s offence with 27 points (24 kills, one block, two aces) while Japanese outside hitter Ran Takahashi scored 17 (16 kills, one block) in his first Italian League match. French star outside hitter Earvin Ngapeth and Turkish opposite Adis Lagumdzija tallied 20 points each for Modena.

Itas Trentino were also pushed in their debut, but managed to top Emma Villas Aubay Siena 3-1 (25-16, 25-21, 23-25, 25-17) on Sunday. Outside hitters Matey Kaziyski and Alessandro Michieletto split Trentino’s scoring load with 26 (19 kills, two blocks, five aces) and 22 (17 kills, four blocks, one ace) points, respectively.

WithU Verona and Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza appeared in the most exciting match of the opening week, which went Verona's way by the thinnest of margins - they won 3-2 (25-20, 23-25, 23-25, 25-20, 24-22). Three players left the court with 25 points scored - Verona's Russian opposite Maksim Sapozhkov (21 kills, three blocks, one ace) and Piacenza's Brazilian outside hitter Yoandy Leal (19 kills, three blocks, three aces) and Italian opposite Yuri Romanò (21 kills, one block, three aces).

The opening week of the SuperLega was completed with Top Volley Cisterna’s 3-0 (25-22, 25-19, 25-23) road victory over Allianz Milano. The winners benefited from 16 points scored by each of Croatians Marko Sedlacek (outside hitter) and Petar Dirlic (opposite) to win the match played on Sunday.

The second round of the Italian League will take place next weekend, with two matches scheduled for Saturday, October 8, and four more on Sunday, October 9.