After taking the victory in the Heart of America Athletic Conference, the GrandView University men's volleyball team succeeds in the feat and also triumphs at the NAIA National Finals in DesMoines, Iowa, thus repeating last year's success. National Finals that also speak a little Italian: 3 of our compatriots took part in the finals: Filippo Meoni (son of Marco Meoni, at Vanguard University), Luciano Bucci (Park University) and Leonardo Annichini (GrandView University).
While Vanguard was unable to repeat last year's splendid performance, in which the team had reached the national semifinals, Park and GrandView do not disappoint expectations: Luciano Bucci concludes his fantastic path as an athlete for Park by finishing again in the top 4 of the nation while Leonardo and GrandView are awarded their second consecutive national title, defeating Benedictine Mesa 3-0. We have collected the words and satisfaction of Leonardo Annichini, hitter from Bussolengo (Verona), in his second year as a student athlete at GVU.
You have won the NAIA national title for the second consecutive time, what are the feelings like today?
The feelings are great. We did something that no one has been able to do, we are committed and we have not given up even a second. After the first defeat we rolled up our sleeves and worked hard to figure out what the problem was. We did it! 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 am 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 didn't get a 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 match.
Volleyball, study and life. What is this experience giving you?
This experience is giving me a lot on a personal level. I have never felt so alive in all these years. I feel I have a role, I feel I have a goal and this is making me realize how important it is to engage in all the things you do. Studying has to go hand in hand with sport and you don't have a chance to fail academically. This aspect is essential to keep you engaged and focused in everything you do. This experience is teaching me to live.
Finally, what was the Sportlinx360 support to make your dream of flying to the States come true?
Sportlinx360's support was crucial to getting here. Jesica and Elitza have always been very helpful and always ready to answer any questions I had. There are tons of 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 throughout this journey.