Novara

Novara players pose after their impressive triumph over Conegliano

Igor Gorgonzola Novara continued their rise in the Lega Pallavolo vivo Serie A1 Femminile on Thursday as the team led by Polish national team head coach Stefano Lavarini defeated defending champions Prosecco Doc Imoco Volley Conegliano.

After losing to their rivals in the Italian Cup and Supercup finals and in the regular season’s first leg, Novara used home-court advantage to their favour and topped Conegliano 3-1 (25-19, 25-21, 23-25, 25-19) in a postponed match of the third round of the second leg. It was their first victory against their rivals in nearly three years.

Igor Gorgonzola Novara vs. Imoco Volley Conegliano

The impressive victory has lifted Novara to 49 points (17 wins, two losses) and they move to second place in the standings, surpassing Conegliano, who have 48 points (17 wins, three losses), and Savino Del Bene Scandicci, with 47 (17 wins, four losses). They now trail Vero Volley Monza by just one point as the Italian League leaders have 50 points (16 wins, five losses).

Novara’s Turkish opposite Ebrar Karakurt won the scoring duel with her counterpart from Conegliano Paola Egonu and left the court with a match-high 23 points (21 kills, one block, one ace). She received the match’s MVP award.

Top Scorer - Ebrar Karakurt

“To say we’re happy would probably be an understatement,” said Novara captain Cristina Chirichella. “We knew this would be a key match and that the points in play tonight were really important. Our goal remains in reach and we will do everything in our power to accomplish it. Exiting the Champions League was a tough blow for us, but here we are, fighting for something big again.”

Dutch outside hitter Nika Daalderop also had a productive night for Novara, registering 19 points in 16 kills, two blocks and one ace.

Novara Conegliano

Egonu and Karakurt battle at the net

The top scorer of the Italian League, Egonu led Conegliano’s offence with 19 points (17 kills, one block, one ace), followed by American outside hitter Kathryn Plummer, who produced 16 (14 kills, one block, one ace).

“It wasn’t a great match from our team,” head coach Daniele Santarelli reflected. “We made way too many mistakes, especially in our attacks. Novara have a great team, were playing at home and wanted very much to win this match. We were fighting point-by-point in the fourth set, but they had a good run and we couldn’t catch up with them again.”

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The two teams will be back on the court on Sunday, when they will both face rivals that are part of the Italian League’s top five. Novara will play fifth-placed Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio and Conegliano are up against Scandicci. Leaders Monza will clash with seventh-placed Bosca S. Bernardo Cuneo.