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12/11/2013 14:00
Getting to know: TRENTINO rising star Filippo Lanza
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Trento, Italy, November 12, 2013. Twenty-two year old Filippo Lanza is one of the young players that Italy’s standout Diatec TRENTINO has chosen in an attempt to continue a unique success story after their major stars – Matey Kaziyski, Osmany Juantorena, and Raphael Vieira de Oliveira to name only a few – moved to Turkey last summer. And the start of the 2013/2014 season looks very promising after TRENTINO won the Super Cup and claimed three consecutive victories in the prelims of the 2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Men.
Born in the neighbourhood of Verona, the city of Romeo and Juliet, Filippo started playing Volleyball quite late, only by the time he was already 14. “I played rugby first and I really liked it; it was a good way to let myself go after coming back from school. I started playing Volleyball because of my father and actually my first team was the one he was coaching. Some representatives of TRENTINO Volley scouted me as I was playing in a tournament with the team from my home region and since those early days I did not stop progressing. I decided to quit rugby and to focus exclusively on Volleyball for I somehow realized that this was an opportunity I could not miss.”  

Though some people were questioning the value and strength of the team before the start of the season, TRENTINO got off to a flying start in the prelims of Europe’s elite competition sweeping three matches in a row, including two home victories over Germany’s champions BERLIN Recycling Volleys and Swiss rookies Energy Investments LUGANO before last week they routed Arkas IZMIR in straight sets. “Our goal is to make the Playoffs 12 and we hope to finish first in our Pool so that we can get a good draw for the next round” Lanza says. “The matches we played so far testified that our team is competitive not only in Italy but also on the international stage. As we draw the line after three rounds, we can be happy with what we have achieved but we shall keep focused also for the matches ahead.”  

This is the first season where Filippo is included in the starting six of Italy’s multiple champions. “The CEV Volleyball Champions League stands apart because you are being confronted with teams from different countries and with a very heterogeneous background. Quite often we have to adjust our system of play to the opponent in order to win the game. However, I think that this also makes things more interesting because you have to learn to deal with teams whose main asset comes from their ability in defence rather than from physical power.  I also have to stress that the quality of your serve really makes the difference in the Champions League. You get more chances to win if you serve strong and good” Lanza continues.  

The young wing-spiker has registered 33 points so far in Europe’s elite club competition to support his side and make sure they could get off to a flying start of their campaign. “I am happy with the way things have gone so far but I do not care that much about these figures. The key point is that I am helping the team and supporting the efforts of the group. My main concern is the final result of the game and I am trying to contribute to a positive outcome with a solid performance in reception, defence and from the serving line as well. Of course, I am very happy if my stats are good in attack as well but I am not that interested in registering as many points as possible. My priority is that, at the end of the day, we win.”  

Diatec TRENTINO underwent a major “revolution” last summer with the departure of former head coach Radostin Stoytchev and a good share of their starting six. “However, there are many things that haven’t changed at all” Lanza stresses. “Our determination to win, the excellent organization and management of the club as well as the way we prepare for all of our matches have stayed the same. Of course many things have changed starting with the roster, the individual skills and our age. The group is much younger than it used to be. I am nevertheless convinced that if we keep up the good work, we will gradually be able to compensate for the gap that we evidently had from the previous generation.”  

Filippo has a very special connection to the city of Trento and to the club as he started playing there at a very tender age, well long before he turned into a professional and fully committed Volleyball player who is about to represent Italy at the upcoming World Grand Champions Cup in Japan. “TRENTINO Volley is really like a second family for me, especially because I was very young when I first came here and have been playing for their teams in the youth and junior divisions. I have very close ties with all the people working here and with all those I meet every time I go to the sports hall. I owe a lot to this club and I am very grateful that they have showed that much trust in me as we embarked on the start of this new era.”  

Together with Luca Vettori – who was awarded Best Spiker at the 2013 CEV VELUX Volleyball European Championship in Copenhagen – Lanza does really embody a new chapter for men’s Volleyball in his home country. “We do not feel any pressure as only a very few players are lucky enough to have the same opportunities and perspectives that we have. We have grown together and it is just amazing that we can be together in the senior national team. Luca and I are very close even beyond Volleyball; we are good friends and I hope this can help us achieve more and more success. I just hope I can develop and be the same outstanding spiker he is; this would be a good asset also for the future of our national team.”  

Questioned about the heroes he looks at, Filippo singles out a few names that have made history in Volleyball: “I have always been looking at players who share my same features, which means players who rely mostly on their technique rather than on their physical skills. So if I had to pick out a few names, I would mention Goran Vujevic, Giba, and Samuele Papi. They have always been a reference to look at for me.”  

Finally a few words about fair play, which is at the centre of the “Fair Play. Volleyball Way” campaign that CEV launched last June in combination with the European Volleyball Gala and the DOL for the 2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League. “When it comes to fair play, I think that Volleyball really stands apart” Lanza says. “This is probably because there is no physical contact in our game and this helps create a spirit of fair play among those who are playing it. However, I always like to have a dialogue, a positive interaction with my opponents as well as with the referees. If you behave this way, I think that this adds more value to your achievements and success. I used to see things this way already by the time I played rugby but this has developed more and more after switching to Volleyball. I am very happy that CEV has decided to create this campaign. It takes to the spotlight one of the main features that our sport stands out for.” 

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