The Malta Independent 23 February 2020, Sunday

Men's Volleyball: Valletta Mapei claim third consecutive Super League title

Tuesday, 20 March 2018, 09:43 Last update: about 3 years ago

In what was a highly charged game between reigning champions Valletta Mapei and title-contenders Aloysians Fire, the Citizens mastered a 3-0 victory over their rivals to close off to win their third consecutive Super League title.

This wasn't the best of performances by the Citizens who played below par, especially in the first set where Aloysians meritedly built a 6-point lead in the beginning of the set thanks to effective attacking by Stephen Riolo, Mirko Palci and Giammarco Rabuazzo. Valletta committed a large number of unforced errors and this brought the game to a 24-20 score before Aloysians allowed a refereeing decision to disrupt their positive run, allowing Valletta to claim the first set 26-24 amongst a lot of protests.

The second set was a more balanced affair with Vallette keeping a 2-point cushion advantage on their opponents. Nicola Muncan got the lion's share of Valletta's attacks, with Aloysians responding well in block and defence. With Reuben Vella coming in for Paul Tonna, Valletta improved in defence, allowing setter Owen Spiteri to vary Valletta's attacking options including attacks from centrals Dalton Caruana and Jonathan Chetcuti. Halfway through the set a tactical double substitution bringing in Tonna and setter Josef Pirotta added more fire power to Valletta's attack, allowing them to win it 25-22.

Valletta's liberos Vince Pace and Mark Soler rose in stature in the third set, allowing their team to play more efficiently than in the previous two sets. The returning Kevin Marembert with his high block and tactical attacks also left his mark on the game even though he played in an outside position to make way for Caruana in the middle.  With the game in Valletta's control, Aloysians never gave up and kept fighting until the final points, but a service error by Aloysians handed the coveted title to Valletta Mapei in a memorable season as they continue their unbeaten run with 2 more games to go.

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