Malinov Lippmann

The connection between setter Ofelia Malinov and opposite Louisa Lippmann is one of Scandicci's strengths (Photo: Scandicci)

Ranked second and third in the standings of the Italian Women’s League, Savino del Bene Scandicci and Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio go against each other on Sunday, in what’s expected to be the most exciting match of the fifth weekend of the tournament.

The duel, set to start at 17.00 local time / 15.00 GTM, will reunite two teams that won three and lost one of their first matches in the season and trail undefeated three-time defending champions Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano.

The match carries even more weight for Busto Arsizio as the team from the North of the country are coming from an unexpected straight-set upset to Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri last weekend. Scandicci, on the other hand, fell to VBC Transporti Pesanti Casalmaggiore on their opening match, but bounced back strongly, winning the next three.

Opposite Camilla Mingardi, the top scorer of the league with 79 points, will be a key piece in Busto Arsizio’s attempt to rebound. The team also counts on some international stars on their roster, including American Olympic champion setter Jordyn Poulter, Serbian world champion Jovana Stevanovic and Italian veteran Lucia Bosetti, who will face Scandicci for the first time after ending a four-year stint with the club last summer.

Mingardi Busto

Mingardi is the league's top scorer (Photo: Alessandra Molinari/Busto Arsizio)

Mingardi, however, might face the biggest challenge of the season so far when it comes to scoring as across the net will be Scandicci’s middle blocker Sara Alberti, who leads the league in blocks with 18. The team has significantly revamped their roster ahead of the season, bringing in German star opposite Louisa Lippmann, Brazilian Olympic medalists Natalia Pereira and Ana Beatriz ‘Bia’ Correa and Dominican libero Brenda Castillo.

The first matches of the weekend will be played on Saturday, when Chieri meet Delta Despar Trentino and Conegliano face Vero Volley Monza in a meeting in which the winners of the 2019 FIVB Women’s Club World Championship could secure their 70th-straight victory.

Four other meetings are scheduled for Sunday – Igor Gorgonzola Novara x Bartoccini Fortinfissi Perugia, Casalmaggiore x Volley Bergamo 1991, Bosca S. Bernardo Cuneo x Megabox Ondulati Del Savio Vallefoglia and Acqua & Sapone Roma Volley Club x Il Bisonte Firenze.

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Get all the results, statistics and more on the official website of the Italian women's League