Milano are guaranteed to end the weekend in second place, as even if Novara win 3-0 or 3-1 they’d still have more victories than their opponents, but triumphing at home is mandatory if they want to remain on the chase to Imoco, who have 54 points and will face Il Bisonte Firenze on Sunday, at 18:30 local time (17:30 GMT), on the road.
The team of star opposite Paola Egonu, the Italian League’s top scorer with 401 points, also wants to get back to winning ways after seeing their streak of 13 undefeated matches come to an end against Imoco last Sunday.
“This will be a complicated encounter, which comes between a match where we didn’t maintain a solid level of play and the Final Four of the Coppa Italia,” Milano’s head coach Marco Gaspari commented. “But it’s a great opportunity for us to reset after losing to Imoco. We need to learn from the mistakes we made and have a solid display against Novara.”
Novara arrive at Saturday’s encounter with four consecutive victories, the last of which was obtained on Wednesday, against Germany’s VC Wiesbaden, in the semifinals of the CEV Challenge Cup.
The team also strengthened its squad ahead of the final portion of the season, signing 22-year-old Russian outside hitter Marina Markova, who was playing in Türkiye at the start of the season – she won’t be available for selection this weekend yet.