Plummer

Plummer's offensive power is an important weapon for Conegliano this season

The Lega Pallavolo Femminile 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 American outside hitter Kathryn Plummer, a rising star in the sport who just started her second season with defending champions Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano, will have the chance to grow into a bigger role with her team, starting this week in matches against Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri on Wednesday and Cuneo Granda S. Bernardo on Sunday.

After enjoying great success at the national and continental levels with the same core of players for the last three seasons, Italian giants Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano look a lot different in 2022-2023.

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The team still rely on magic from Joanna Wolosz at the setter position, the consistency of Monica De Gennaro at libero and the solidity of Robin De Kruijf in the middle, but the departure of star opposite Paola Egonu has left the team looking for a leading scorer.

Swedish star opposite Isabelle Haak was signed to fill that role, but it’s clear that head coach Daniele Santarelli also expects a lot from 24-year-old American outside hitter Kathryn Plummer.

The 2.01m-tall outside hitter joined the team last season after stints with Vero Volley Milano (then Monza) and in Japan with Denso Airybees, and proved to be an extremely valuable offensive piece for the Panthers.

In her first campaign with the club, Plummer was the team’s second-best scorer, only behind Egonu, with 337 points. Her excellent performance could see her take on an even larger role this season.

“The first season at Imoco taught me patience, both with myself and the learning process and with relationships,” she said. “Now I understand that I do not always have to be perfect, but I just have to be good and know how to solve problems that arise with the help of my teammates. I also learned to build relationships with my teammates, on and off the court, to integrate into a group while playing at the highest level.”

Outside hitter was a position that saw great movement in Conegliano’s roster during the offseason. Plummer was the only player from the team’s last campaign to remain. She now gets to compete for playing time with compatriot and Olympic champion Kelsey Robinson-Cook, Italian 2022 Volleyball Nations League champion Alessia Gennari and Canadian national team member Alexa Gray.

Although she recognizes there will be great competition for the two spots in the starting lineup, Plummer believes she has what it takes to be a key piece for the team and knows where she needs to improve to become a more complete player.

“There are many new players and I am excited about this, since it will be stimulating,” she said ahead of the start of the season. “I think my style of play will adapt very well to the new roster. I am working to improve passing and defence, so I think I can contribute in many ways and be able to do what coach Santarelli asks of me. My goal and that of the club is to win all the trophies that we can and I want to work every day to improve and help the team reach the goals we have in mind.”

Kathryn Plummer (USA vs. China)

Plummer also entered the club season with a chip on her shoulder after she suffered a big frustration during the national team season. Despite appearing in five matches during the American campaign in the VNL and having 20 and 18-point performances in two of them, she wasn’t selected by head coach Karch Kiraly for the country’s 2022 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship roster and missed the opportunity to appear in the tournament for the first time in her career.

Conegliano are one of the four teams to remain undefeated after the conclusion of the third match day of the Italian League and Plummer has had a big influence on the team's positive start. The American is the player with the second most points scored so far (28) and is the most productive among the outside hitters. On Sunday, she was Conegliano's top scorer in the team's sweep of Megabox Ondulati Del Savio Vallefoglia with 14 points.

With challenging matches coming their way this week, Conegliano will need Plummer to deliver big performances again on Wednesday, at home, against Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri, at 20.30 local time (18.30 GMT), and on Sunday, on the road, at 17.00 local time (15.00 GMT), against Cuneo Granda S. Bernardo.