2023 Coppa Italia winners Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano (source: legavolleyfemminile.it)

2023 Coppa Italia winners Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano

Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano continued their domination in Italian women’s volleyball and celebrated their fourth consecutive and fifth overall national cup trophy. In Sunday’s final, played in front of 8,100 spectators, the Panthers prevailed over Vero Volley Milano on the way to a 3-0 (25-17, 25-23, 25-19) victory, with Swedish star opposite Isabelle Haak shining as the best scorer and earning the Most Valuable Player award.

Haak crowned the three-set final of the Coppa Italia A1 Frecciarossa with the match high of 23 points. The 23-year-old Swede registered a 54% success rate in attack and added two aces and a kill block to her tally. With Polish setter and captain Joanna Wolosz brilliantly conducting Imoco’s offence, two more of her teammates reached double digits in scoring. American outside hitters Kathryn Plummer and Kelsey Robinson put away 10 points each. On the other side of the net, another American, opposite Jordan Thompson led the scorers with 17 points.

It was Imoco’s third trophy of the season. They also won the FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship and the Supercoppa Italiana. The 2023 Coppa Italia was their 16th domestic trophy since the club was founded in 2012. They also have two club world titles and one continental crown from the CEV Champions League in their impressive collection. The club from Conegliano have not missed winning any of Italy’s three national competitions since the spring of 2019.

The Panthers started their Coppa Italia campaign on Tuesday with a 3-0 (25-12, 25-19, 25-12) home win over Cuneo Granda S.Bernardo, with Haak delivering the match high of 17 points. As the race continued with the Final Four showdown in Casalecchio di Reno near Bologna over the weekend, Imoco managed a 3-1 (25-21, 25-22, 18-25, 25-23) semifinal victory over Igor Gorgonzola Novara on Saturday. Haak led her team with 26 points, while Novara’s Turkish opposite Ebrar Karakurt topped the charts with 27.

“It's never easy. Today the satisfaction is great, but yesterday I was almost angry, because I wasn't happy with the performance,” Imoco’s coach Daniele Santarelli commented after the final. “I think we played a good game today. We were very diligent in the fundamentals. We did much better than yesterday and we deserved this trophy by playing good volleyball. I'm very happy for all the fans, who came. It was a great party for everyone. This is the fourth consecutive Coppa Italia and this means that we are doing a great job. I'm proud of the staff and the team.”

Fans in yellow and blue supporting Imoco from the stands at Unipol Arena (source: legavolleyfemminile.it)

Fans in yellow and blue supporting Imoco from the stands at Unipol Arena

“Today we gave everything we had and maybe at the moment it's not enough,” said Milano’s outside hitter Myriam Sylla. “This motivates us to work even harder. Conegliano pushed from start to finish, but we knew we would be playing against a team that would leave nothing to chance. Maybe in some moments it was our responsibility, because we could and should have done something more. Sadness, however, is momentary. It was a final and we wanted more, but the season is long and tomorrow is another day.”

Vero Volley Milano did not drop a set on the way to the final. On Wednesday at home, they produced a 3-0 (25-23, 28-26, 25-16) quarterfinal win over Trasportipesanti Casalmaggiore with 26 points from Jordan, and on Saturday, they hammered out a 3-0 (25-17, 25-21, 25-15) semifinal shutout of Volley Bergamo 1991 with the American striker leading the scorers again, on 18 points.

Bergamo, on the other hand, delivered the biggest surprise of the quarterfinals with an away 3-2 (20-25, 25-22, 15-25, 25-23, 15-13) upset of Savino Del Bene Scandicci despite a 26-point match high from the home team’s Chinese star Zhu Ting. And in the most anticipated quarterfinal, Karakurt powered Novara to a 3-1 (25-19, 25-23, 23-25, 27-25) home victory over Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri with 27 points.