All three of the seeded teams kept their home advantage over the weekend as the best-of-three Preliminary Round of the Italian Men's League Playoffs got underway, with three spots in the quarterfinals up for grabs.
Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza, who narrowly missed out at the very end of the Regular Season on a direct to the quarterfinals, had to come back from a set down and just barely avoid a tie-break, as they edged Kioene Padova 3-1 (22-25, 25-22, 25-19, 32-30).
Georg Grozer with 19 points (including 4 aces) was Piacenza's best scorer and was named MVP of the game, but it was Mattia Bottolo who bagged the match high of 21 for Padova.
Over at the PalaLido, Allianz of Milan also took four sets and a dramatic ending to defeat NBV Verona 3-1 (25-16, 25-19, 20-25, 32-30). The visitors had one shot at forcing a tie-break when they led 24-23 in the fourth, but it took seven match balls for Milan to finish it off.
Setter Riccardo Sbertoli who in addition to his playmaking also contributed 3 aces, 2 blocks and 2/2 in attack was named MVP of the game. Twenty-one points by Jean Patry for Milan offset the match high of 22 from Verona's Matey Kaziyski.
And twelve-time Italian champions (last in 2016) Modena also took their first step towards a quarterfinals berth, after surviving a bit of a scare in the first set to beat Consar Ravenna 3-0 (31-29, 25-21, 25-21) at home at the PalaPanini.
Ravenna could well have gone a set up, but only managed to exted the first after coming back from 24-22 down and then cancelling five more of the home side's set points before Modena claimed their seventh overall.
A great performance by setter Micah Christenson who was named MVP of the match plus a top-scoring performance by Luca Vetttori on 16 points (including 14/28 for 50% in attack) sealed the deal for Modena. Ravenna's Giulio Pinali also scored 16 points in the game.
The top five of the Regular Season standings - Sir Safety Conad Perugia, Cucine Lube Civitanova, Itas Trentino, Vero Volley Monza and Tonno Callipo Calabria Vibo Valentia - have qualified directly to the quarterfinals and are awaiting their opponents.
The second legs of the Preliminary Round are scheduled for next weekend.
Full details of the competition on the official website of the Italian Men's League.