Superlega 2023 - News.

Left to right: Italy’s Romano, Brazil’s Lucarelli, France’s Brizard and Cuba’s Simon during a pre-season game (source:

Left to right: Italy’s Romano, Brazil’s Lucarelli, France’s Brizard and Cuba’s Simon during a pre-season game (source:

Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza grabbed one of the three major domestic trophies in Italian men’s volleyball last season. The club hired Andrea Anastasi as the team’s new head coach, but did not undertake any major changes to its stellar squad for the new 2023-2024 SuperLega Credem Banca season starting this Sunday, and will obviously rely on continuity and growth to do even better.

  • Watch Italy’s SuperLega Credem Banca live and on demand on VBTV.

This relatively young club, founded in 2018, practically played only its third full season as a member of the Italian A1 elite and already celebrated its first trophy, the Coppa Italia, and its first success in the SuperLega playoffs. Gas Sales Bluenergy’s national cup campaign started with a difficult five-set win in an away quarterfinal against WithU Verona in late December, but then they really peaked at late February’s Final Four event in Rome, upsetting heavy favourites Sir Safety Susa Perugia with a straight-set sweep of their semifinal, and convincingly shutting out Itas Trentino Trento in the final to celebrate the historic success and secure their first appearance in the CEV Champions League as an added bonus.

The team from Piacenza finished the SuperLega regular season in sixth place on an 11-11 win-loss record. In the best-of-five quarterfinal playoffs, they managed to recover from losing the first two matches against the star-studded line-up of third-placed Valsa Group Modena and emerge victorious with a semifinal spot for the first time in the club’s history. Gas Sales Bluenergy almost repeated that feat in the semifinal series against champions-to-be Trentino. After losing the first two games, they caught up to push the playoff to a fifth-match decider, which they lost to stop just short of making it to the championship series.

The club changed head coaches between seasons with legendary Andrea Anastasi coming in from Perugia to take over from Massimo Botti, but only three of the players were replaced, keeping the core starting seven intact.

French outside hitter Luka Basic transferred to SuperLega newcomers Farmitalia Catania and his place was taken by 33-year-old 1.91m-tall Dutch international Robbert Andringa, coming in from Poland’s Indykpol Olsztyn. Meanwhile, Dutch setter Freek De Weijer returned home to the Netherlands to make way for 20-year-old Portuguese talent Bruno Dias, and Italian middle blocker Enrico Cester was substituted for with 29-year-old 2.05m-tall 2021 European champion with Italy Fabio Ricci, who arrived from Emma Villas Aubay Siena.

“When the call came from Piacenza, it didn't take me long to agree to play for this team. I couldn't refuse this offer,” said Fabio Ricci. “I arrived in one of SuperLega’s most important clubs. The club's ambitions are high and match mine. I want to continue to grow both as a player and as a person and I believe I have arrived in the right environment to do so. The season is long and there will be no shortage of opportunities to get on the court.”

“Playing in the Italian championship is a dream for a young boy like me,” Bruno Dias added. “I have a lot to learn and I'm happy to be part of this project and to be able to train with Antoine Brizard, a player I admire, from whom I will have a lot to learn and I will try to discover every little secret to become as great as he is.”

These changes are not likely to affect the Wolves’ usual starting seven from last season with Olympic champion setter Antoine Brizard of France as the team captain, world champion opposite Yuri Romano of Italy, Brazilian star outside hitters Ricardo Lucarelli and Yoandy Leal, middle blockers Robertlandy Simon of Cuba and Edoardo Caneschi of Italy, and Italian libero Leonardo Scanferla.

“I'm happy to have started working in Piacenza again. You know that I like winning a lot, but it will be a long and difficult season,” said Brizard.

In their first game of the new SuperLega season, Gas Sales Bluenergy will welcome Pallavolo Padova Padua to the Pala Banca on Sunday, October 22, at 18:00 local time (16:00 UTC). A week later, on October 29 at 16:30 (15:30), the Wolves will visit Allianz Milan for their second-leg fixture, before travelling to Biella for the Supercoppa Italiana Final Four event, where they will take on Cucine Lube Civitanova in their October 31 semifinal, starting at 20:30 (19:30).