Perugia produced a remarkable result on the road despite multiple absences

A stellar performance by outside hitter Wilfredo Leon strengthened Sir Safety Conad Perugia’s position as the leaders of the Lega Pallavolo SuperLega Credem Banca on Sunday. The team are also guaranteed to be at the top of the standings at the end of the first half of the season and were named “winter champions” in Italy.

Led by the Cuban-born, Polish international outside hitter, the team coached by Serbian Nikola Grbic secured a remarkable 3-1 (25-15, 25-20, 28-30, 25-21) road victory over second-placed Cucine Lube Civitanova and are now six points clear at the top of the standings of the Italian League.

Leon’s brilliant night was instrumental to Perugia’s success who were missing two key players in American outside hitter Matt Anderson and Luxembourgian opposite Kamil Rychlicki. The 28-year-old outside hitter rose above the absences of his teammates to produce 27 points (all in kills) in Perugia’s victory.

The former Zenit Kazan player was unstoppable at the net, ending the match with 27 successful kills in 36 attempts, for an impressive efficiency rate of 72.22%. A bronze medallist at the Tokyo Olympics with the Argentinean national team, middle blocker Sebastian Sole was also in great offensive rhythm, converting 12 of 16 of his offensive actions into points (75%) to end the match with 16 – he also had a match-high four points.

“We are very happy,” Leon commented. “We came to Civitanova without some important players but were determined to just play our game. The match went really well and we got all three points in a very difficult stadium to play at and now have a lot of confidence.”

Gianelli Sole

The connection between setter Simone Gianelli and Sole was one of the keys of Perugia's triumph

Lube, who claimed silver at the 2021 FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship last weekend, won the third set and pushed Perugia to four in big part due to Cuban outside hitter Marlon Yant, who delivered a team-high 15 points (14 kills, one block). A Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist, star opposite Ivan Zaytsev gave signs he’s quickly returning to his best form after missing the start of the season due to knee surgery with a 14-point (13 kills, one ace) performance.

Undefeated in their last five matches, Perugia are now comfortably at the top of the standings with 34 points (11 wins, one loss). Despite the home setback, Lube remain in second with 28 (nine wins, three losses).

The other three teams that form the Italian League’s top-five also won over the weekend, starting with third-placed Leo Shoes PerkinElmer Modena, who swept (25-22, 25-21, 25-18) Kioene Padova on Saturday with solid displays by opposite Nimir Abdel-Aziz and outside hitter Yoandy Leal, who produced 14 points apiece. Modena now have 25 points, with nine wins and three losses.

Also returning from the FIVB Men’s Club World Championship, where they won the bronze medal last weekend, Trentino Itas counted on 30 points from opposite Daniele Lavia (16) and captain and outside hitter Matey Kaziyski (14) to take care of Top Volley Cisterna in three sets (25-15, 25-14, 25-22) on Sunday. The team from Trento sit in fourth place in the standings with the same 25 points a s Modena, but have one game in hand (eight wins, three losses).

Fifth-placed Vero Volley Monza reached 20 points (seven wins, five losses) with their triumph in the most dramatic match of the weekend. The team coached by Massimo Eccheli came out on top of a five-set (25-17, 23-25, 26-24, 22-25, 17-15) battle against Verona Volley thanks to top performances by German opposite Georg Grozer, who registered 26 points (20 kills, one block, five aces) and Czech outside hitter Donovan Dzavoronok, who tallied 19 (13 kills, five blocks, one ace). The top scorer of the match, however, was Verona’s 19-year-old Slovenian outside hitter Rok Mozic, who produced 27 points (24 kills, three aces).

Watch all matches of the Italian League live or on demand on Volleyball TV.