Cucine Lube Civitanova and Diatecx Trentino Volleyball will meet in the gold medal match of the 2018 FIVB Men’s Club World Championship, making a loud statement about the dominance of Italy’s SuperLega.
Lube and Trentino are the last two teams remaining in the eight-team tournament, which featured the top professional teams from South America, Europe, and Asia.
In the first semifinal on Saturday, Lube defeated Polish team Asseco Resovia. Resovia managed to sneak away with the first set and jump out to a 16-12 lead in the second, but Lube went on a 12-2 run to reach set point at 24-18 and then ultimately won the match in four (29-31, 25-19, 25-14, 25-23).
Lube’s outside hitters Tsvetan Sokolov from Bulgaria and Osmany Juantorena of Italy ran the show, scoring 18 points each. Not only could Resovia not stop Sokolov and Juantorena from scoring, but the Polish squad also struggled with errors, making a total of 29 in the match.
“In the first set our service did not work and Resovia kept pushing us on the serve, especially at the end,” Lube head coach Gianpaolo Medei said. “I am happy with our reaction, especially at the beginning of second set. I am very happy with the victory, because we all wanted to play in the final.”
The second semifinal pitted Trentino against Russian squad Fakel Novy Urengoy, and once again, the eventual winners dropped the first set but recovered to win in four (22-25, 25-14, 25-16, 25-19). Uros Kovacevic of Serbia and Luca Vettori of Italy led Trentino in scoring with 18 and 16 points, respectively, and American outside hitter Aaron Russell added 14 points while also playing a key role in serve receive and defense.
Trentino is the most decorated team in Club World Champs history, boasting four titles in all. In tomorrow’s final, it will face Lube for the second time this season, the first meeting a five-set SuperLega match that went Lube’s way in five sets.
The semifinal victory marks Lube’s second year in a row making it to the final of the Club World Championship. A year ago, the Italian squad lost to Zenit Kazan in the gold-medal match.
Fakel Novy Urengoy and Asseco Resovia will play in the bronze medal match, meaning brothers and U.S. National Team teammates Erik and Kawika Shoji will find themselves across the net from each other.
Tune in to watch tomorrow’s bronze-medal match and final right here on FloVolleyball.