Akademia's successes, constant sacrifice for added value. Maggipinto: “Third position and play-off deserved merit”


By John

Absolutely strong performance from Akademia Città Di Messina against Esperia Cremona. Last Sunday's match at the “PalaRescifina”, in addition to the mathematical qualification for the playoffs, gave the city for the umpteenth time a team that is a faithful reflection of the constant sacrifice that, since the second part of last August, has marked the days of each member of the club: management staff, technical staff, team group, sectors in which everyone worked with the aim of achieving everything possible that could be achieved.

As mentioned by the technician Fabio Bonafede in the post-match press conference, no one on the eve of the match would have bet that, in mid-March and with three matchdays to go, this team would find itself with a play-off qualification in its pocket. Fifth/sixth place, this is the final position accredited by Italian volleyball experts to the Messina team. Yet, the winning mentality and the preparation of a staff to which the athletes have always said and repeated their daily “yes” with deeds, has generated a virtuous circle in which the continuous trips around the country to pursue away games, the desire to overcome every personal and team limit, the firm will to arrive and never actually do it, have given only and exclusively inestimable value.

And that the team knows how to draw, even from the difficulties of the journey, the energy to bring out its own qualities, is confirmed by the vehement reaction had with Macerata, three days after the bad defeat in San Giovanni, the match in Mondovì – the “PalaManera “It is a difficult field for everyone and on which Messina came close to achieving full success – finally the very delicate home match with Cremona in which the team, in addition to not leaving even a single set to the opponent, won the three sets with safety gaps and closed most of the long rallies played in their favor, a highlight, the latter, of a team in first and foremost mental health and with an insatiable hunger for success.

Perugia, Busto, then Messina. The first authentic battleships, while on the third step a true sporting miracle. This is how coach Bonafede defined him in the press conference. The coach originally from Syracuse and his staff are letting the protagonists on the pitch write the history of the club and sport of Messina, but great credit also goes to those who allow these girls to think only about giving their best on a daily basis, also to fish across the border excellent athletic, technical and mental conditions.

Best scorer of the match, the opposite of Cremona, Veronica Taborelli with 15 points (14 in attack with 38% and 1 ace), but it was Messina who stood out in all the fundamentals: three athletes in double figures (39 points divided between Payne, Battista and Martinelli), 58 overall team points of which 45 in attack and a percentage of 38% compared to Cremona's 31 and its 27% offensive. On the block, Messina scored 10 with Captain Martinelli the top blocker of the match (4), while Cremona stopped at 4. On serve, 3 aces from the Sicilians, 2 from their opponents, even if Messina made more mistakes ( 7 errors against 5 by Cremona). In reception, 48% team positivity for both teams, which was influenced by Maggipinto's 73% (11 receptions) and Rossetto's 48% (23 receptions). The latter received one of the two prizes made available by the sponsors; after Battista's MVP, recognition as “Top Defender” went to Aurora Rossetto, with the usual performance of substance in every part of the pitch. In the break phase, 30 points for Messina (8 for Martinelli and Battista), 15 for Cremona, while, in the side out phase, 28 points for the hosts against 15 for the guests. Finally, 17 per side, the errors.

“What we are achieving is the result of sacrifices and many hours spent in the gym working” these are the first words of Marianna Maggipinto, leader of the Messina second line. “The third position in the standings and access to the play-offs are the right merit for all this; we are proud of what we have done.”

Retracing the stages of the Akademia championship, there are matches that represent turning point milestones in this season, as Talmassons may have been in the first leg of the Regular Season: “In Lignano we were still missing something; today we would experience the race differently, more consciously and with greater certainty. A defeat that served to make us grow.”

After that badly digested 3-2, this team slowly managed to grow, managing to make the difference: “We were a new group. There were four confirmations but the rest totally renewed. A journey has been completed in which, race after race, we have become the team we are today. However, we still have to improve but getting to know each other more and more and the awareness we have acquired makes everything more magical.”

The fact of not feeling like we have arrived is probably what emerged most with Cremona, the hunger for goals: “We are an ambitious team, we are not satisfied. Always looking up has characterized our journey. With Cremona we have done beautiful things and some less so. There were moments of confusion that we managed to manage anyway. I would say that managing those moments was the key.”

Many long rallies decided favorably by Messina: “I would say with many excellent defenses on both sides. Being able to close them down gives you an extra boost in subsequent plays.”

Now, beyond the next races, where Messina can go: “I would look from week to week. We definitely want to maintain this position in the rankings. We will hold on to whatever comes next and it will be a source of great satisfaction. Without too many expectations, we just have to keep working.”


Meanwhile, please remember that the formula for the next play-offs foresees that the teams from 2nd to 5th in the rankings will face each other in the semi-final round, according to pairings 2nd vs 5th, 3rd vs 4th.

The series will be played as the best of two races won out of three with the first and eventual race 3 to be played at the home of the best classified. The winners will play the Final series with the same formula as the Semi-finals.

The winner of the Playoffs will be promoted to Serie A1.

Dates: semi-finals 6-7, 10-11 April, 13-14 April 2024, finals 21, 25, 28 April 2024. The Video Check system will be adopted for the semi-finals and finals.

These the results of the other matches of the second return round of the Promotion Pool: Mondovì-Busto Arsizio 3-1, San Giovanni in M.no-Como 0-3, Talmassons-Macerata 3-0, Perugia-Montecchio 3-1

The ranking: Perugia 66, Busto Arsizio 59, Messina 56, Talmassons 50, Macerata 49, Como 46, Cremona 45, San Giovanni 44, Mondovì 40, Montecchio 35