Lega Pallavolo Serie A Femminile 2022 - News

Triumphant Emiliya Dimitrova (source: volleyballcasalmaggiore.it)

Triumphant Emiliya Dimitrova (source: volleyballcasalmaggiore.it)

While favourites Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano and Savino Del Bene Scandicci were emphatic in their second matches of Italy’s Lega Pallavolo Serie A1 Femminile quarterfinal playoffs to close their series and advance to the semifinals, five-set battles marked the other two quarterfinal match-ups and both are yet to be resolved. Il Bisonte Florence, on the other hand, became the first team to progress to the pool stage of the playoffs for the CEV Challenge Cup spot.

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Trasportipesanti Casalmaggiore, who finished the regular season in sixth place, levelled their series against third-placed Vero Volley Milan after the two teams engaged in their fourth five-set duel in a row this league season. On Wednesday, Bulgarian opposite and captain Emiliya Dimitrova led her team to a 3-2 (30-28, 25-18, 20-25, 23-25, 15-12) home victory, delivering an impressive 33 points, all in attack, and claiming the Most Valuable Player award. Her American teammate Alexandra Frantti added another 17, while her American counterpart on the other side of the net, Jordan Thompson, was Vero Volley’s most productive player with 20 points.

“I'm happy because we played as if we were one person. We really played as a team. Maybe in the third set, the mistakes we made were a bit too many, but in the playoffs you also need a lot of heart and we had it,” Dimitrova commented after the game.

The deciding third match on Sunday in Monza will determine the winner of this best-of-three quarterfinal series.

Another hard-fought five-setter opened the quarterfinal series between fourth-placed Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri and fifth-placed Igor Gorgonzola Novara on Wednesday. In a postponed first-leg encounter, the visitors from Novara squeezed out a 3-2 (17-25, 19-25, 25-22, 25-18, 15-8), mastering a complete comeback from two sets down. Igor’s middle blocker Anna Danesi led her team’s scorers with 19 points, including an amazing tally of seven kill blocks, as well as two aces, on the day before her 27th birthday. Turkish Generation O star Ebrar Karakurt added another 17 points. Reale Mutua Fenera’s Belgian opposite and captain Kaja Grobelna was the best scorer of the match with 22 points.

“For us it was an important victory. We won with a good and strong team reaction, after two very difficult sets,” said Igor’s middle and captain Cristina Chirichella. “Now another very difficult match awaits us at home, but we hope to be able to have all the support of our fans.”

The second-leg match in Novara will be played on Saturday.

The second leg of the quarterfinal playoffs started on Tuesday with Imoco’s 3-0 (25-15, 25-19, 26-24) win at e-work Busto Arsizio, with which they swept the best-of-three series without losing a set and booked the first spot among the four semifinalists, knocking the opponents out of the race for medals and into the pool stage of the race for a continental quota. With four aces, including the match winner, and two kill blocks towards a total tally of 11 points, Imoco’s middle blocker Federica Squarcini earned the MVP award, while Swedish opposite Isabelle Haak delivered the match high of 15 points.

For the club from Conegliano, it is the 10th time to reach the Serie A1 semifinals out of 10 opportunities to do so in history.

“The goal for us tonight was to win. We wanted to close the series quickly to have the advantage of carefully preparing for the semifinal. We brought home the result and the mission is accomplished, even if in my opinion we didn't play at the top,” Squarcini said. “I expected them to push more at the start after game one, but perhaps we were good at playing orderly and concentrated without making big mistakes, thus limiting their game a lot. Overall, a good performance and a positive result, but it's just the beginning. Now we have another series ahead, which will be against a very difficult opponent.”

In another second-leg encounter on Thursday, Savino del Bene also closed their series in a convincing manner, mastering a 3-0 (25-18, 25-14, 25-14) shutout of their hosts Volley Bergamo 1991. Russian prodigy Ekaterina Antropova was once again above all. The 20-year-old opposite delivered three aces and three kill blocks towards the match high of 16 points, while her teammate Elena Pietrini added another 15. The MVP award went to setter Isabella Di Iulio. The squad from Scandicci advanced to the semifinals, while for Bergamo the season continues with the pool stage of the race for Challenge Cup qualification.

“Great test for the team's maturity! We understood how you can't take risks in the playoffs. Getting to a possible third game would have meant resetting all the values ​​and the risks would have been many,” said Savino’s coach Massimo Barbolini. “The girls were good at keeping Bergamo under control. We did our duty, we did it well, and now let's rest for a moment and get ready for the semifinals.”

The second leg of the first Challenge Cup playoffs was held on Wednesday. Wash4Green Pinerolo managed a 3-1 (25-20, 19-25, 25-23, 26-24) home victory over Megabox Ondulati Del Savio Vallefoglia to tie their series at one win each and push it to a third-game decider on Saturday in Urbino. After winning the first match at home in five sets, Il Bisonte Florence were emphatic upon their visit to Cuneo Granda S.Bernardo and hammered out a 3-0 (25-15, 25-20, 25-21) shutout to close the series and advance to the six-team pool phase of the race for net season’s continental vacancy.

Lega Pallavolo Serie A1 Femminile’s Quarterfinals Leg 2 schedule:
Apr 22, 20:30 local (18:30 UTC): Igor Gorgonzola Novara v Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri

Lega Pallavolo Serie A1 Femminile’s Quarterfinals Leg 3 schedule:
Apr 23, 20:00 local (18:00 UTC): Vero Volley Milan v Trasportipesanti Casalmaggiore

Lega Pallavolo Serie A1 Femminile’s Challenge Cup Playoffs Leg 3 schedule:
Apr 22, 18:00 local (16:00 UTC): Megabox Ondulati Del Savio Vallefoglia v Wash4Green Pinerolo