sabato 6 agosto 2016

College Basketball Tour 2016 - Tappa di Senigallia

Cedarville, UMKC, Drake University, Athletes in Action e Elon University: ecco i cinque college americani che daranno vita al College Basketball Tour (CBT) edizione 2016 nelle Marche.

Dopo aver ospitato i Trojans della Southern California, quest'anno il PalaPanzini sarà teatro di ben due match maschili e tre femminili. Primo appuntamento in programma quello del 9 agosto che vedrà impegnate gli Adriatic Sea Tritons contro Cedarville University. I Yellow Jacket dell'Ohio militano nella Division II della NCAA e nell'ultima stagione hanno vissuto molti alti e bassi. Sarà forse per ritrovare la giusta pace che hanno scelto di instaurarsi a Chieti in una casa parrocchiale gestita dai genitori dell'italianissimo Gabriele Portillo?

L'11 sarà invece la volta di UMCK (Division I), le kangaroo che dal Missouri se la vedranno con le Adriatic Sea Sirens, la selezione delle migliori giocatrici della nostra regione tra cui Terenzi Chiara, Filippetti Licia, Dell'Olio Sofia e Pazzaglia Katerina, a cui si aggiungerà anche Florencia Palacios assieme a coach D'Albero.

Sempre le Sirene – che per l'occasione potranno contare anche su Reggiani Erika e Perini Veronica – saranno protagoniste della sfida
contro Drake University il 13 agosto. Le Bulldogs dell' Iowa sono a digiuno di risultati importanti dal 2007 quando vinsero la loro conference (la Missouri Valley) e raggiunsero la NCAA. Ma con l'arrivo in panchina di Baranczyk sembra tirare aria nuova in squadra e i risultati sono stati un crescendo continuo. La filosofia di coach Jennie? Comunicazione, rimbalzi, mentalità offensiva.

L'ultima fatica per le Sirens prende il nome di Elon University, formazione della CAA (la Colonial Athletic Association), match in programma il 20 agosto. Match che concluderà il programma di Senigallia per questa edizione del CBT.

Riflettori invece puntati sul match del 14 agosto che vedrà in campo numerosi giocatori della Pallacanestro Senigallia contro gli Athletes in Action. Per i colori nostrani scenderanno in campo Giampieri, Bertoni, Pierantoni, Barantani, Diotallevi, Savelli Luca, Cicconi Massi, Caverni, Maggiotto e Perini. Contro di loro, gli atleti della AIA,una selezione di giocatori NCAA. Tra gli americani, da tenere d'occhio soprattutto Terry Maston e Tory Miller, giocatori che hanno calcato parquet importanti con Baylor e Colorado.

Tanta carne sul fuoco quindi per l'edizione 2016 del CBT, l'evento che da ormai cinque anni porta i migliori college americani in Italia per una serie di amichevoli contro selezioni locali e squadre del campionato di serie A italiano. Un appuntamento che ormai é diventato imperdibile per gli appassionati di basket e che dai 3000 spettatori del 2012 é passato a registrarne 12000 lo scorso anno grazie soprattutto alla partecipazione di alcune squadre di serie A e all'aggiunta di nuove location come Roma e Varese. Ad arricchire questa edizione ci saranno anche alcune squadre straniere come la Nazionale del Kosovo nel torneo maschile e il TK Hannover nel femminile insieme a due formazioni lituane. Tra i college americani occhi puntati su Princeton University, Santa Clara, Kansas State University e University of Missouri.

Tutte le partite avranno inizio alle ore 20.30; per le gare maschili é previsto un biglietto di 5 euro. Per i match alla femminile l'ingresso sarà invece gratuito.


Happiness is only real when shared”. These few words by Jon Krakamer in “Into the Wild” may alone explain how Carli Lloyd lived the success in Cev Cup with her team; an happiness that the American setter wanted to share in particular with two of her teammates: Francesca Piccinini and Lauren Gybbemeyer.

The bond with Francesca, despite being born only during this season, has grown up so fast and intensely that after the match versus Dinamo Kazan, Carli and Francesca looked for each other and melted in a long and affectionate embrace: “I went to hug her because I felt so much happiness for her as an individual” - Carli recalls - “I know how badly she wanted this win and she deserved to get it. Francy is a phenomenal player and I truly enjoy walking out on the court with her and battling with her. She has helped me grow as a player this season and I think I have seen her grow as well”.

With Lauren, instead, the happiness of sharing such an important moment goes beyond the simple concept of friendship: “Playing with Lauren is such a gift. The kind of energy I feel from her when I'm on the court is really special. It's one thing to have teammates that you love playing with, but it's another thing to step on the court with family. Lauren is a part of my family. We share a special
connection” - such special and strong that some speaker refer to them as the “American bound” - “We were on the podium after we received our medals and there was an overwhelming moment when I just needed to be next to her. I went to her and I said just that, winning is one thing, but experiencing this with you is something really rare and so incredible”.

Similarly, it does not matter whether the “best setter” prize in an individual on; Carli simply dedicates it to her teammates: “Being named “best setter” is such an honor: I am truly grateful for the acknowledgment. It felt kind of like an out of body experience though. We have worked hard this season and have faced many great opponents: me winning this individual award is just an example of our teamwork over those two days”.

A team where the Californian setter seems to have regained her best condition and equilibrium after the second difficult year with the Unendo Yamamay and a stingy season in terms of important victories in Conegliano: “That year in Busto was really difficult. I played in that Final Four after being out of matches for over a month. We didn't plan to have me play, I went in after 2 sets in the semi finals. The experience was still an incredible one though. We won a deserving bronze medal and we played really great volleyball. Every experience is different though and of course this one was very different. I am healthy and have been playing all season with my teammates this year so I was in a different position than I was three years ago. I do have to admit that this experience is one that will be closer to my heart”.

Indeed! This is already Carli's fourth season in our country. Fact that is hard to believe when I think that my first interview to her dates back to 2011 when she had just arrived in Busto and hardly spoke a single word of Italian and had many difficulties to adapt to the way Italian people drive. Now, not only can she speak Italian, but she also started discovering the “Bel Paese” and its traditions: “I definitely have learned to speak Italian. I may not be perfect but I speak the language every day and I do my best to learn as much as I can. I would love to be fluent one day but I have to admit that speaking in past tense and future tense with all of the Italian verb forms is really difficult. I love Italy. I think it is a beautiful country with an amazing tradition of family and of food. The food here is incredible. I have been lucky this season to be able to travel quite a bit and see beautiful parts of this country. I have visited Venice, e Florence, Siena, Padua, Verona, Dolomites, and some other smaller cities around Casalmaggiore. I am learning to make different Italian foods like risotto and different pastas and some desserts as well”. And if Carli loves Italy...well, no doubt Italy loves her back: just watch all the messages her Italian fans live daily on her Istagram account or the affection they show her during every single match. Not to mention her own fan club: “The “Carli's Angels” is an amazing group of people. They come to as many matches as they can and I feel their love and support when I'm out on the court. Our relationship is more than just volleyball now, they are my friends as well”.

Italy, the country that has seen this player growing up, maturing and improving season after season until being awarded with the personal higher recognition at European level. And it's Carli herself who explains me her path as an athlete: “I think I have grown a lot as a player in the last three years. I have spent a lot time focused on my defensive game and I know that I have learned to read the game of volleyball better. I believe that comes with experience and also with attention to detail. I have played for coaches that have pushed and encouraged me to expand my defensive range and have better ball control. I also think that my offensive game has improved. Technically I have made some changes with my footwork and my finish when setting the ball. Some of this I have found on my own and other aspects have been encouraged by a few coaches that I've had. I also believe that the experiences I've had have helped me grow a lot mentally as well: I am still an energetic player but I think I have controlled my emotions a bit more and am learning how to stay balanced mentally”.

And it has been precisely in these Finals where the American setter has shown her qualities at best during the long rallies. But, what goes on inside a setter's mind while dealing with this great pressure and have to decide in a few seconds the best solution to set the attack twice or more times in a single rally? “Of course to the public these matches seem way different than the
average match because it is the finals of such a prestigious event. But my job is always the same. I am on the court to give my attackers the best opportunities to score”.

Getting into the details of the matter, Carli explains me the main winning tricks she used in the two matches versus Dinamo Kazan and Vakifbank Istanbul: “I focused a lot on ball control and tempo to give each of my attackers the ball that they attack the best. I tried to be as balanced as possible so that the opposing middle blocker wouldn't be able to read me easily and then I did my best to locate the ball to my teammate. Massimo (Barbolini ndr.) informed me about specific things to help us have the most success possible. He would tell me when the best moments were to set the middles, or when it was better to try to get one of my pin attackers 1 on 1. Mentally I worked to be present each and every action. I knew that it would be a hard battle to beat teams like Dinamo and Vakif so I stayed in the moment to be 100% available for my teammates and for any information our opponent would give me. There were times that I could see the opposing middle move early and when that happens it gives me a better opportunity to get our attackers with only one block up,( which is obviously ideal against such strong blocking opponents). I felt a lot of trust amongst my teammates as well this weekend and I think we did a great job supporting each other and communicating before and during play. This is also extremely important for me as a setter, to hear my attackers calling the ball and ready to attack. They did such an awesome job at this”.

But this year there could be another important moment for Carli: the Olympic Games in Rio: “Right now my thoughts are only on my team here in Italy. I will do all that I can for this group of girls, our two cities Casalmaggiore and Cremona and the club that has given us the opportunity to play here. My heart and soul are with this team right now”.

At heart, in fact, happiness does not stay in distant dreams, but in a shared closer reality.