Lube triumphs in electrifying clash of the titans in Pool C


Article Wed, Jan 12 2022
Author: Martyna Szydłowska

The first Super Match of the Week in 2022 was literally a clash of Volleyball giants as it featured the winners of last two editions of the CEV Champions League Volley – Men. The defending champions Grupa Azoty Zaksa took on Cucine Lube Civitanova who triumphed in Europe's prime club competition in 2019, so there was no surprise when it turned into a thrilling five-set battle. Although, the Italian powerhouse had a forced break due to quarantine in the team, they found a way to stop the Polish team in front of more than 5.5 thousands spectators at majestic Arena Gliwice. Lube led by their setter Luciano De Cecco, who was named MVP, defeated Zaksa 3-2 (25-17, 16-25, 25-18, 22-25, 15-12) and stays unbeaten leader of Pool C. Block made the biggest difference in this encounter, Lube scored as many as 17 points by this component once Zaksa only seven. Robertlandy Simon was the best blocker (4 stuffs) and Lube's top scorer as he contributed with 19 points, once the best scorer of the match honour went to Zaksa's Kamil Semeniuk (21).

5,655 spectators enjoyed the Super Match of the Week at Arena Gliwice in Poland

The match started with competitive beginning that lasted until 11-11, then Lube started to build their advantage. First, they scored three in a row, jumping to 14-11, thus Zaksa lost their rhythm. The hosts struggled to score, what Lube regularly did - mainly thanks to efforts of Lucarelli, Simone Anzani, Gabriel Fernandez (75% of success in attack!) and Marlon Yant Herrera - improving further their lead to 19-14 and 23-15. The set was ended with Lucarelli's spike. Leader of Zaksa - Łukasz Kaczmarek was powerless against Lube's block (4 stuffs in opener) having only 18% of efficiency in attack.


Neither team was able to gain a bigger advantage in the first half of the second set, but then Zaksa took a two-point lead 16-14 powered by great actions from Kaczmarek and Semeniuk. However, the crucial moment of the set came at 16-15 when Norbert Huber went to service line, as from this moment the hosts scored - obviously with great team efforts - seven points in a row. Kaczmarek reborn on the court and same like Semeniuk, contributed with four points. His and David Smith's block on Lucarelli closed the second part.

The third part turned into one-side show. And despite loud support from the crowd at Arena Gliwice it was the show of the visiting team. Lube dominated on the court from a very beginning (7-3), which they constantly improved, reaching seven-point advantage at 17-10. Having a very solid block and better attack they didn't have to look back, closing the set confidently.


A well-balanced game was a key for a good opening in the fourth set for the host team, who took an early 8-4 lead. Kamil Semeniuk was on fire (9 points in this part), leading his team through this set. Although, they even had an advantage of five points, Lube managed to get closer at 23-21, but Aleksander Śliwka used the second set point, closing this part.


Everyone expected a fierce battle in tie-break, but Lube showed their strength being a dominating side. The team led by Gianlorenzo Blengini opened it with 3-0 and they were showing no mercy when Zaksa struggled to regain their rhythm jumping to 9-4. With no room for more mistakes at 12-7, the hosts produced amazing comeback. Two powerful one-man blocks by Huber and ace from Smith reduced the distance to 12-11. It was a thrilling battle, but Lube withstood a pressure and closed the game with Lucarelli’s block on Kaczmarek.

“After two weeks in which many of us were locked up at home due to Covid, the first good news tonight is that we finally could get back to the court playing a game. The second is of course that we also managed to perform a good volleyball, giving our best and then bringing home some well-deserved and important points for the pool standings. We still have a lot to improve, this for sure, but tonight it's definitely okay, given the circumstances. Playing in Poland is always beautiful, especially in a stunning sport hall like the one that saw us protagonists today together with Zaksa”.

Luciano De Cecco
setter of Cucine Lube Civitanova and MVP
Lube's setter and MVP Luciano De Cecco in action during Super Match of the Week

"We are very happy because we could not play in the full line up , but despite that my team was very ambitious in this match. We knew that the rival would not let go until the very end, and even more so, it is a valuable win."

Gianlorenzo Blengini
head coach of Cucine Lube CIVITANOVA

"We didn't get into the game well and made too many own mistakes in lost sets. We certainly cannot be satisfied with our game, especially in attack, but I must add that the visitors' team played really well tonight."

Aleksander Śliwka
captain of Grupa Azoty Kędzierzyn-Koźle