Lega Pallavolo Serie A Femminile 2022 - News

Jordan Larson celebrates (source: legavolleyfemminile.it)

Jordan Larson celebrates

While favourites Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano mastered a second semifinal victory over Igor Gorgonzola Novara to advance to the Lega Pallavolo Serie A1 Femminile final in Italy, Vero Volley Milan managed to level their series against Savino Del Bene Scandicci and push it to a third match decider on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Il Bisonte Florence threw in another upset in the race for Italy’s CEV Challenge Cup quota and booked their spot in the final game for the continental ticket.

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It took over two hours of playing time for Vero Volley to shape up a 3-1 (25-22, 23-25, 25-22, 25-21) home win over Savino Del Bene on Sunday evening, with American legend Jordan Larson taking the leading role towards success. The 36-year-old outside hitter was brilliant in reception, handling well 76% of the opponents’ serves directed at her. She also raised three kill blocks towards a 13-point tally and eventually claimed the Most Valuable Player award. Her teammate and compatriot Jordan Thompson led Vero Volley’s scorers with 18 points, while 20-year-old Russian opposite Ekaterina Antropova signed off with the match high, putting away 26 points for the team from Scandicci, including two aces and two blocks. Middle blocker Raphaela Folie from the home team, on the other hand, impressed with as many as seven kill blocks towards the victory.

The semifinal series will now travel back to Florence, where Savino Del Bene won the first match earlier last week in four sets and will try to win the deciding third game on Wednesday.

“I’m really proud of our team. We came out fighting. We had a little bit of a low in the second set, but I’m really just proud of how we fought,” said Larson after the match. “Scandicci is a great team and played a great match, but we found a way to win. I think we are both great teams. It’s just side-out game - we pass and try to side-out as well as we can and we try to serve tough because they have a lot of great hitters and we try to get them out of system.”

“There is a bit of regret because we didn't play at our best, but we have to give them credit and be aware of the limits we have,” commented Savino Del Bene’s head coach Massimo Barbolini. “Sometimes we think we have no limits, but instead we continue to have them, even if we try to hide them like all teams. The problem now, with or without limits, is that we have to win on Wednesday. We have to do things better, have more patience and take advantage of the good times. We can't invent many things. I'm convinced that the individual skills will make the difference, as well as some tactical aspects that we can manage better.”

Imoco did not allow any surprises on Saturday upon their visit to Novara and closed their semifinal playoff with a 3-1 (25-21, 25-18, 20-25, 25-23) victory over Igor Gorgonzola in front of almost four thousand spectators, sweeping the best-of-three series in two games and advancing to their fifth consecutive Serie A1 final. American outside Kathryn Plummer led her team with 23 points, including three blocks and an ace, while Polish star playmaker and team captain Joanna Wolosz also played a brilliant match and earned the MVP award. Libero Monica De Gennaro, who played her 400th game for the club from Conegliano, registered 80% perfect reception. On the other side of the net, Turkish opposite Ebrar Karakurt spearheaded her team with 20 points.

The season is now over for Igor. The club from Novara failed to earn the right to play in next season’s CEV Champions League, but will compete in the second-tier continental competition for the CEV Cup.

“We tried right up to the last minute to extend the match,” said Igor’s coach Stefano Lavarini. I think tonight's match is a bit of a summary of the year, a season with many difficulties, in which the difference was made often more by the human than by the professional aspect. We had to deal with many difficulties and this is certainly not an excuse, but a fact, and despite these difficulties we reached the semifinals in all competitions, being eliminated by very high-level teams. The only real regret may be the regular season, in which I believe we would have done a little more and we are especially sorry for what concerns the qualification for the European cups.”

“It's nice to win in two matches. It's a good result,” said Imoco’s coach Daniele Santarelli. “We got off to a great start. We had two exemplary sets. Then in the third we made mistakes in serving and in attack and they deservedly won it. In the fourth we were doing well even if we weren't playing perfectly, but then we got a bit tangled in the end. We have to be happy. I always struggle to be satisfied, but it's a good achievement. We won this semifinal against a traditional opponent for us, who has always given us a hard time. We will renew the challenge with them next year. Now heading to the final, we have a few days to prepare and recover our energy. It will be a good challenge even if we don't know the opponent yet. This year the championship level is high.”

After shutting out their hosts Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri on Thursday, Il Bisonte delivered another upset with an away victory upon their visit to e-work Busto Arsizio on Sunday securing the top of the three-team single round-robin Pool A final standings and hence the right to play in Sunday’s final playoff for the single available ticket to next season’s Challenge Cup continental competition. The team from Florence, who finished the regular season in 10th place, came back from two sets down to produce a 3-2 (21-25, 20-25, 25-19, 25-21, 15-13) win over eighth-placed e-work in Busto Arsizio with a 25-point match high from opposite Sylvia Nwakalor and an MVP award for Belgian outside and captain Britt Herbots.

Il Bisonte’s opponents in the deciding match will be determined on Wednesday between Trasportipesanti Casalmaggiore and Volley Bergamo 1991, who will fight for the top of Pool B. After Trasportipesanti shut out the third team in the pool, Wash4Green Pinerolo, on Thursday, so did Bergamo on Saturday to set up a direct clash for the first place. American outside Khalia Lanier scored 19 points to lead Bergamo to a 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 25-17) and earn the MVP nomination.

Lega Pallavolo Serie A1 Femminile’s Semifinals Leg 3 schedule:
May 3, 20:30 local (18:30 UTC): Savino Del Bene Scandicci v Vero Volley Milan

Lega Pallavolo Serie A1 Femminile’s Challenge Cup Pool Stage Leg 3 schedule:
May 3, 20:00 local (18:00 UTC): Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri v e-work Busto Arsizio
May 3, 20:30 local (18:30 UTC): Trasportipesanti Casalmaggiore v Volley Bergamo 1991