Lega Pallavolo Serie A Femminile 2022 - News

Imoco’s Marina Lubian spikes against e-work’s blockers in the first-leg quarterfinal between the two teams (source: legavolleyfemminile.it)

Imoco’s Marina Lubian spikes against e-work’s blockers in the first-leg quarterfinal between the two teams

The second leg of Italy’s Lega Pallavolo Serie A1 Femminile quarterfinal playoffs will start on Tuesday, April 18, before the first one is even finished, and it is quite possible that the first semifinalists will be known at the end of the day.

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Starting at 20:00 local time (18:00 UTC), e-work Busto Arsizio host Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano in an attempt to upset the reigning club world champions and defending Italian titleholders and stay alive in the best-of-three series. In the first match on Saturday, the regular season winners from Conegliano mastered a 3-0 (25-18, 25-15, 25-19) home victory to edge forward in the series and get to within a win from booking the first semifinal spot.

The last time e-work were able to defeat Imoco was all the way back in November 2015. During the seven and a half years after that, the team from Conegliano managed to beat their opponents 20 times in a row, including three times already this season.

“Conegliano played a perfect game one, pushing more and more during the match,” said e-work’s head coach Marco Musso. “We were lacking in attack and making too many mistakes. We did a good job in block-defence, but we didn't materialize that in counterattack. And if Imoco give you one opportunity, they certainly won't give you a second. On Tuesday evening, we'll have to be much more aggressive, starting from the serve and especially in attack. Then maybe we'll be able to be more competitive.”

“With so few days between the two games, there will be some changes on our part, but we have to approach this second match with the same spirit and the same concentration as in Saturday's start,” said Imoco’s head coach Daniele Santarelli. “However, I wasn't completely satisfied with the first game. We had little continuity and made too many mistakes. Things can go much better in attack and we can improve our serving. If we want to look ahead and aim to defend the title, we will have to grow, because there are fierce teams who can't wait to snatch it from us and we will have to be at our best from here on. E-work will certainly want to react in front of their fans after the shutout on Saturday.”

On Wednesday, also at 20:00 local time (18:00 UTC), Trasportipesanti Casalmaggiore, who finished sixth in the regular season standings, welcome third-placed Vero Volley Milan to Cremona after losing the five-set battle the two teams put up on Sunday in Monza. After winning by 3-2 (25-19, 22-25, 25-20, 18-25, 15-12) at home, Vero Volley will have to work hard in the away match to double their lead and sweep the series in two games. Vero Volley lead the head-to-head by 12 wins against Trasportipesanti’s four, but all three of their encounters this league season were resolved in tie-breakers, with the girls from Milan winning twice and the girls from Casalmaggiore once.

“We will have to give everything to bring the series to a third match. We'll play within our home walls, in front of our fans, and we know the arena... We have to get concentrated and play our best game,” said Trasportipesanti’s scout Alessandro Bianciardi.

“It was important to have started the playoffs with a victory, despite our performance not being brilliant and having too many mistakes,” said Vero Volley’s head coach Marco Gaspari. “We head to the next one with the knowledge that they have given us a hard time this season and that they will want to do well in front of their audience.”

A third semifinalist might emerge on Thursday, when Volley Bergamo 1991, placed seventh after the regular season, entertain Savino Del Bene Scandicci at 20:30 local (18:30 UTC). On Sunday, regular season runners-up Savino Del Bene delivered a 3-0 (25-23, 25-21, 25-20) victory at home in Florence and will travel to Bergamo hoping to repeat their achievement and book a ticket to the semifinals. The club from Scandicci have won 15 of the previous 23 encounters with Bergamo, including three times already this league season. However, as they visit their opponents, they also have to remember that they suffered a five-set upset at the hands of Bergamo at home in a Coppa Italia quarterfinal on January 25.

“In the first match, we were a team from start to finish. Too bad we didn't take advantage of the first set, but we were always in the match,” said Bergamo’s middle blocker Federica Stufi. “Scandicci are strong, but we are a group that does not give up and this will be the strength we will have to exploit in game two in Bergamo.”

“After game one we have an important advantage, but we know game two will start again from 0-0,” said Savino Del Bene’s coach Massimo Barbolini. “We have seen that if we don't start with the right intensity, they can break away. The next game is Bergamo’s last resort and they will certainly not give anything up. For this reason, we will have to be good at making as few mistakes as possible.”

With the postponement of the first match between fourth-placed Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri and fifth-placed Igor Gorgonzola Novara because of the untimely death of Igor’s 18-year-old outside hitter Julia Ituma, what is likely to be the most competitive quarterfinal will get underway on Wednesday, with the opening game in Chieri set to start at 20:30 local (18:30 UTC). The club from Novara lead the head-to-head series by eight wins to four, but Reale Mutua Fenera beat them twice this regular season. However, when the two teams met in a Coppa Italia quarterfinal in January, it was Igor that celebrated victorious at home after four sets.

“These have been very heavy days. We are all shaken and shocked by what happened,” said Reale Mutua Fenera’s sports director Max Gallo. “It is hard right now to think about the sporting part. It will definitely be a very strange game, with an atmosphere that I imagine will be surreal. We must all do our best to create a good sporting climate, to make sure that it is a good day of sport as far as possible, and all together try to overcome this pain.”

Also on Wednesday, the two games of the second leg in the first Challenge Cup playoffs will be played, both starting at 20:30 local (18:30 UTC). Wash4Green Pinerolo will host Megabox Ondulati Del Savio Vallefoglia in an attempt to stay in the race for the spot in Europe’s third-tier club competition by levelling the series, after losing the first match at Megabox in four sets. So will Cuneo Granda S.Bernardo in their series against Il Bisonte Florence, who squeezed out a 3-2 home win at the start.

Lega Pallavolo Serie A1 Femminile’s Quarterfinals Leg 1 schedule:

Apr 19, 20:30 local (18:30 UTC): Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri v Igor Gorgonzola Novara

Lega Pallavolo Serie A1 Femminile’s Quarterfinals Leg 2 schedule:

Apr 18, 20:00 local (18:00 UTC): e-work Busto Arsizio v Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano

Apr 19, 20:00 local (18:00 UTC): Trasportipesanti Casalmaggiore v Vero Volley Milan

Apr 20, 20:30 local (18:30 UTC): Volley Bergamo 1991 v Savino Del Bene Scandicci

Apr 22, 20:30 local (18:30 UTC): Igor Gorgonzola Novara v Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri

Lega Pallavolo Serie A1 Femminile’s Challenge Cup Playoffs Leg 2 schedule:

Apr 19, 20:30 local (18:30 UTC): Wash4Green Pinerolo v Megabox Ondulati Del Savio Vallefoglia

Apr 19, 20:30 local (18:30 UTC): Cuneo Granda S.Bernardo v Il Bisonte Florence