Young Trentino stars, 22-year-old Giannelli and 24-year-old Nelli, show off the Club World Championship trophy
Lausanne, Switzerland, December 30, 2018 – Italy’s Trentino Volley Trento went all the way at the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship in Poland to become the first team to collect five titles in the history of the competition. In an all-Italian final, played in Czestochowa, Trentino mastered a 3-1 (25-20, 22-25, 25-20, 25-18) victory over Cucine Lube Civitanova to triumph with the gold.
The first four Club World Championship titles for Trentino came in four consecutive editions, from 2009 through 2012, all held in Qatar, and after a five-year break, during which the Italian club managed to win two bronze medals, in 2013 and 2016, they again captured gold for an unprecedented fifth time.
Trentino are still the only Italian club to have lifted the trophy since 2009. Before that, all four editions, from 1989 through 1992, had been won by teams from the southern European country.
A total of eight teams from five different countries took part in the 2018 Club World Championship from November 26 through December 2 in Poland. They were split into two pools of four, with the matches taking place in Plock and Rzeszow, before the two pool winners and the two pool runners-up got together in Czestochowa for the semifinals and the medal matches.
The fierce battles in Pool A broke a number of all-time duration records in the men’s Club World Championships (since the introduction of the rally-point system). The all-Russian clash between Fakel Novy Urengoy and Zenit Kazan went on for 143 minutes, two minutes longer than the previous high from 2014, and delivered the first upset of the competition on opening day with wild cards Fakel emerging victorious from the tie-breaker against the defending 2017 world champions.
On the next day, Lube also downed Zenit in five sets that lasted 145 minutes, just before Fakel mounted an incredible comeback from two sets down to beat hosts Skra Belchatow in a new record high of 160 minutes. Each of the two tie-breaker sets on that day lasted 30 minutes, seven clear of the previous record in the Club World Championships.
To add to the records shattered on that memorable Tuesday evening in Plock, a total of 248 points were registered in the game between Fakel and Skra, topping the previous high by five points. At the end of that night it was all clear – Lube and Fakel would advance to the semifinals, while Zenit would have to concede the crown.
Trentino dropped only one set in their three matches in Rzeszow to top the final standings in Pool B. The second place was practically decided on the very first competition day, when Poland’s Asseco Resovia pleased the home fans in Rzeszow with a nail-biting five-set win over three-time world champs Sada Cruzeiro Contagem of Brazil.
The Italians continued their victorious quest through the semifinals, each taking four sets to complete. Losing the first sets on both occasions, Lube and Trentino came back to defeat Resovia and Fakel, respectively, and set up an all-Italian final. The Russians did the same in their match for third place against the Polish side and claimed the bronze in front of over five thousand spectators.
The gold medal match at the Hala Sportowa in Czestochowa also lasted four sets. Aaron Russell scored 20 points (including one ace and one block) for Trentino to lead his teammates to their fifth world title, while Lube had to settle for silver for the second year in a row.
"We are happy with the result and the victory,” said Trentino opposite Lucca Vettori. “We played well. We wanted to win. It was a long tournament and we are happy that we are the champions!"