Ankara and Incirlik have traveled from Turkey to join the eight American Schools in Italy League teams Thursday through Saturday to determine the boys Mediterranean volleyball champion.
Naples (7-0) topped the seedings released Wednesday by tournament director Ken McNeely of Aviano. Aviano was No. 2 and Vicenza No. 3 in the event for all DODDS-Europe schools with boys teams. Defending champ American Overseas School of Rome was rated No. 9 of the 10 teams.
"I expect the final to be between Naples and Aviano, by far the most consistent teams in the conference," said Lou Lucidi, whose Aviano Saints (6-1) were runners-up last year to AOSR.
Sigonella’s Ross Brand was even more specific.
"I expect Naples to win," the coach said Monday, "because of their consistency."
Naples beat Aviano at home in five games on Oct. 2, rallying from 0-2, and needed all five games to top visiting Vicenza the next week. Since then, Naples has lost only one game.
Best-of-three pool play begins at 9:30 a.m. Thursday and Friday at the Aviano base gym and the high school. The venues contract to one, Aviano High School, and the matches expand to best-of-five for Friday night’s semifinals, at 6 and 8 p.m., and Saturday’s noon championship game and 10 a.m. third-place game.
Look for many of those games to be down-to-the-wire, Naples coach Peter Nagafuchi advised.
"Five teams in Italy have reached a higher level of performance for the first time since I have been in this league," Nagafuchi said Monday. "All teams are well-coached and well-trained. There will be many exciting games throughout the tourney."
Mediterranean volleyball championships
The seedingsPool A
1. Naples 2. Aviano
4. Marymount 3. Vicenza
5. Ankara 6. Incirlik
8. Sigonella 9. AOSR