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After winning the Heart of America Athletic Conference, the GrandView University men’s volleyball team succeeded and triumphed at the NAIA National Finals in DesMoines, Iowa, repeating last year’s success. National Finals that also speak a little Italian: in fact, 3 of our compatriots participated in the finals: Filippo Meoni (son of Marco Meoni, at Vanguard University), Luciano Bucci (Park University) and Leonardo Annichini (GrandViewUniversity).

While Vanguard was unable to repeat last year’s splendid performance, in which the team made it to the national semifinals, Park and GrandView did not disappoint: Luciano Bucci ended his fantastic journey as an athlete in Park by finishing again in the top 4 of the nation while Leonardo and GrandView gave themselves the second consecutive national title, defeating Benedictine Mesa 3-0. We have collected the words and satisfaction of Leonardo Annichini, spiker from Bussolengo (Verona), in his second year as a student-athlete at GVU.

You won the NAIA national title for the second time in a row, how do you feel today?

The sensations are great. We did something that no one else was able to do, we worked hard and we didn’t give up even for a second. After the first defeat we rolled up our sleeves and worked hard to be able to understand what the problem was. We succeeded! We have lost 2 games all season and I have to say that I can feel much more than satisfied with what I have done on a personal level. I’m proud of myself and I hope to be able to ride the wave of success again next year.

The two victories. What are the differences? Tell us your point of view.

The two victories are very different. The first year I had several problems with my eligibility and I didn’t have the chance to play a single point. I was amazed at myself, I continued to train 100% every single day to grow, improve and make myself available to the team. I understood what my role was. I worked hard until the end and we managed to win the national title without losing a game.

Volleyball, study and life. What is this experience giving you?

This experience is giving me a lot on a personal level. I’ve never felt so alive in all these years. I feel like I have a role, I feel like I have a goal and that’s making me realize how important it is to put in the effort in all the things you do. Studying must go hand in hand with sports, and you don’t have the chance to fail academically. This is key to keeping you engaged and focused in everything you do. This experience is teaching me how to live.

To conclude, what was the support of Sportlinx360 to make your dream of flying to the States come true?

The support of Sportlinx360 has been crucial to be able to get here. Jesica and Elitza were always very helpful and always ready to answer any questions I had. There are so many steps to get into an American college and the help of competent people like them is very important. Thank you for supporting and following me all the way.