Lega Pallavolo Serie A Femminile 2022 - News

Prosecco DocImoco Conegliano v Igor Gorgozola Novara (source: legavolleyfemminile.it)

With four of the top five teams from the Lega Pallavolo Serie A1 Femminile regular season still in the race for the 2023 Italian national championship title, the best-of-three semifinal playoffs are about to begin. The first-leg games are scheduled on Wednesday and Thursday. The first matches of the pool stage in the race for the country’s CEV Challenge Cup ticket will also take place on Thursday.

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Defending champions and regular season winners Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano will host fifth-placed Igor Gorgonzola Novara for the first match of their semifinal series on Wednesday, April 26, at 20:30 local time (18:30 UTC). The club from Conegliano have won 34 of the previous 46 encounters with their opponents from Novara across all tournaments, including the three domestic competitions and the CEV Champions League. Since the last time Igor managed to beat Imoco in March 2022, Imoco have been on a four-game winning streak, including 3-0 and 3-1 victories during the regular season, a 3-1 win in November’s Supercoppa Italiana final and a 3-1 win in a Coppa Italiana semifinal in January of this year.

After winning the regular season, Imoco cruised through the quarterfinals on two straight-set wins over eighth-placed e-work Busto Arsizio, while Igor were able to upset fourth-placed Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri with a 3-2 away victory and a clean sweep at home.

“The challenge with Novara is always special. We have played memorable matches for many trophies, finals and semifinals of all kinds, and it is always a pleasure and an additional stimulus to play against them,” said Imoco’s head coach Danielle Santarelli. “I'm happy to meet them again, this time in a challenge different from those played so far this season. This is not a one-off match like the super cup or the cup, but a series that promises to be fought right from the start. Game one will be fundamental for this series and we can't go wrong at home, but we know that Novara will arrive in a fighting spirit. We will need the help of our fans, but, above all, we will need a team that plays the match aggressively. If we make few mistakes, we don't fear anyone, but if we fail instead, we become vulnerable. It's not easy, but if we want to get great results against a strong opponent like Novara, we have to give the maximum.”

“Conegliano awaits us. They are a very strong team that has shown its worth during the season. We will prepare to face them at our best,” commented Igor’s head coach Stefano Lavarini.

The other semifinal match-up will offer a clash between regular season runners-up Savino Del Bene Scandicci and the team that finished just below them in the standings, Vero Volley Milan. The first-leg fixture is set to start at 20:30 local time (18:30 UTC) on Thursday at the Palazzo Wanny in Florence. Savino Del Bene have beaten Vero Volley 11 times so far, while suffering nine defeats at the hands of this opponent. However, Vero Volley won six of their last seven encounters. This regular season, the two teams exchanged away victories in exciting five-set battles, with Vero Volley winning in Florence by 3-2 (23-25, 25-21, 20-25, 26-24, 15-8) in November and Savino Del Bene returning the favour in Monza with a 3-2 (25-22, 26-28, 25-22, 21-25, 15-7) victory in February.

After finishing the regular season in second place, two points clear of Vero Volley, the team from Scandicci went on to knock out seventh-placed Volley Bergamo 1991 with two straight-set sweeps in the quarterfinals. At the same time, the squad from Milan had their first playoff series against sixth-placed Trasportipesanti Casalmaggiore to a third-leg decider after each of the teams won their home game in five sets. In the crucial match, Vero Volley pleased their home fans with a 3-1 victory to progress to the semis.

Pool A of the race for the Challenge Cup spot will start with a game between Reale Mutua Fenera, who dropped out of the playoffs, and Il Bisonte Florence, who finished the regular season in 10th place and went on to knock out Cuneo Granda S.Bernardo in the Challenge Cup playoffs. The match in Cheri starts at 20:00 local time (18:00 UTC) on Thursday. The team of e-work Busto Arsizio is the third member of this single round-robin pool.

Also on Thursday, but starting at 20:30 (18:30) in Cremona, will be the first match in Pool B. Trasportipesanti will welcome Wash4Green Pinerolo, who narrowly escaped relegation and finished the regular season in 12th place, but then upset ninth-placed Megabox Ondulati Del Savio Vallefoglia in the Challenge Cup playoffs, turning their series around after losing the first match. Bergamo are the third team to compete for the first place in this pool, which guarantees a spot in the final clash with the Pool A winners for the continental quota.

Lega Pallavolo Serie A1 Femminile’s Semifinals Leg 1 schedule:
Apr 26, 20:30 local (18:30 UTC): Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano v Igor Gorgonzola Novara
Apr 27, 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 1 schedule:
Apr 27, 20:00 local (18:00 UTC): Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri v Il Bisonte Florence
Apr 27, 20:30 local (18:30 UTC): Trasportipesanti Casalmaggiore v Wash4Green Pinerolo