Savino Del Bene’s players celebrate (source:

Savino Del Bene’s players celebrate

Savino Del Bene Scandicci lived up to their status of one of the top teams in the Italian Lega Pallavolo Serie A1 Femminile and mastered a straight-set success upon their visit to e-work Busto Arsizio on Wednesday for the early opener of the 22nd leg of the regular season. Led by Russian teen prodigy Ekaterina Antropova and established Chinese star Zhu Ting, Savino Del Bene took revenge from their opponents for the upset they caused them at Florence’s Palazzo Wanny back in November and registered the team’s 10th victory in a row in the Serie A1 and the CEV Cup combined.

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The 19-year-old opposite fired four aces, put up a kill block and spiked at a 52% success rate towards the match high of 19 points in Savino Del Benne’s 3-0 (25-23, 25-23, 25-19) shutout of the Butterflies. Outside hitter Zhu impressed with handling well 68% of the opponents’ serves directed at her, in addition to three stuffs and 12 spiking points, to earn the Most Valuable Player award.

Without their Brazilian point maker Rosamaria Montibeller on the court, the home team were led by outside hitter Alice Degradi, who produced 13 points, and middle blocker and captain Rosella Olivotto with 11.

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The victory pushed Savino Del Bene’s win-loss record up to 18-4. They are second in the current standings on 56 points, one short of leaders Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano and 10 points clear of third-placed Vero Volley Milan, each of whom have a game in hand.

The team from Busto Arsizio dropped below Volley Bergamo 1991 on set ratio, to eighth place on 10-12 and 31 points, and risk falling below the cut-off line for the playoffs by the end of the leg, if ninth-placed Il Bisonte Florence sweep Bartoccini-Fortinfissi Perugia in straight sets on Saturday.

“We knew it wouldn't be easy to play here,” Antropova said after the match. “It's never easy to come and win at Busto Arsizio, who also played an excellent game tonight. We are satisfied with the victory, which keeps us high in the standings as we await the end of the regular season.”

“It was a good performance against a very strong team. There is a bit of regret for the first two sets, when we could have been more lucid in the deciding moments, while in the third the strength of the Tuscan team became quite evident,” commented Olivotto.

The remaining six matches of 22nd leg will take place on Saturday and Sunday.

Lega Pallavolo Serie A1 Femminile’s weekend schedule:

Mar 11, 19:45 local (18:45 UTC): Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri v Vero Volley Milan

Mar 11, 20:30 local (19:30 UTC): Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano v Igor Gorgonzola Novara

Mar 11, 20:30 local (19:30 UTC): Bartoccini-Fortinfissi Perugia v Il Bisonte Florence

Mar 12, 17:00 local (16:00 UTC): Trasportipesanti Casalmaggiore v Megabox Ondulati Del Savio Vallefoglia

Mar 12, 17:00 local (16:00 UTC): Cuneo Granda S.Bernardo v Wash4Green Pinerolo

Mar 12, 17:00 local (16:00 UTC): Volley Bergamo 1991 v CBF Balducci HR Macerata