Isabelle Haak

The Lega Pallavolo Serie A1 is widely recognised as one of the best women's domestic leagues in the world and features many of the leading players in international volleyball. These players have a huge impact on the outcome of the Italian League and Swedish star Isabelle Haak is already a shining example.

With the 23-year-old opposite leading Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano’s offence, they remain unbeaten since the start of the season. This week they hope to add the sixth and the seventh consecutive victories to their record as they visit archrivals Igor Gorgonzola Novara on Wednesday, November 9, at 20:30 local time (19:30 UTC), and welcome Trasportipesanti Casalmaggiore on Sunday, November 13, at 17:00 (16:00).

· Watch all Lega Pallavolo Serie A1 matches live or on demand on Volleyball TV.

Isabelle Haak’s presence in the Italian league was the result of an interesting swap of star opposites between arguably the best two women’s club teams in the world. Last season, the 1.95m-tall striker was key to the huge success of VakifBank Istanbul, who claimed five big trophies within a rare golden quintuple, including the FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship, the CEV Champions League and the three domestic crowns in Türkiye. In the finals of the two major international competitions, Haak and her teammates overpowered the team from Conegliano, featuring the other 23-year-old top star of world volleyball, Italy’s Paola Egonu. At the Club World Championship, Haak was named Most Valuable Player, the greatest individual honour among the many she has claimed in her career so far. Later, she was also named Europe’s Female Volleyball Player of 2022 by the CEV.

This season, Egonu plays for VakifBank, while Haak stars for Imoco. As the two teams will quite likely cross paths again, it will be exciting to see how their rivalry will continue, but in the mean time, the fans can enjoy their thrilling performances in the national competitions.

“We have a really strong team this season so I am looking forward to possibly playing against VakifBank. It will be interesting.” Isabelle Haak, opposite of Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano

In her early years as an athlete, Isabelle represented Sweden internationally in youth and junior competitions in both volleyball and beach volleyball. She was only 14 when she made her debut in professional volleyball. In her very first two seasons as a regular starter for Engelholms VS (2014-2015 and 2015-2016), she led the team to consecutive national titles and national cups of Sweden and was named Player of the Year on both occasions.

Also at the age of 14, Haak started playing for Sweden’s senior national team in 2014 and gradually steered the team to new heights in international volleyball. They won the CEV Silver European League in 2018 and in 2022, and those achievements came garnished with a number of individual honours for Haak herself.

In 2021, Isabelle Haak helped Sweden qualify for the EuroVolley finals for the first time in 38 years, but also advance as far as to the quarterfinals of the competition. And despite not making it to the last four with her team, Haak was the third best scorer of the tournament.

Meanwhile, the talented opposite’s club career continued with Beziers Volley. With that team, she took French league silver and French cup bronze in 2017. Then she spent her first two seasons in Italy’s Serie A1 wearing the jersey of Savino Del Bene Scandicci, earning two bronze medals and becoming the best scorer of the 2017-2018 season.

The three-season period with VakifBank that followed included the hardships of the coronavirus pandemic, but despite all the interruptions, Haak and her teammates won a Club World Championship bronze, a Champions League silver, a national league gold and a national cup crown, in addition to last season's five trophies mentioned above, again accompanied by a number of MVP, Dream Team and best scorer recognitions.

Haak has started well with Imoco and was the best scorer in four of the five league matches her team has played until now. She is also the second best point-maker of the league so far. With a total of 95 points scored, including eight kill blocks, the Swedish opposite is only eight points short of Novara’s Turkish opposite Ebrar Karakurt before the two engage in a direct scoring race on Wednesday.

Haak scored 27 points for Imoco against e-work Busto Arsizio – watch the match highlights

Novara and Conegliano are almost completely level at the top of the current Lega Volley standings. They are on 14 points each, 5-0 win-loss records, 15-3 set ratios and both have scored 433 points. The only count that puts Novara above Conegliano in the table is the number of points lost – 346 for Novara and 358 Imoco.