Lega Pallavolo Serie A Femminile 2022 - News

Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano v Vero Volley Milan (source: legavolleyfemminile.it)

It all came down to one crucial final match to determine the 2023 Italian champions in women’s volleyball. On Monday  night, the fifth game of the best-of-five championship series in Lega Pallavolo Serie A1 Femminile will crown either defending champions Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano or contenders Vero Volley Milan as national titleholders. The battle at the Palaverde hall in Villorba starts at 20:50 local time (18:50 UTC).

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It has been a rollercoaster final playoff so far and, after four games played, the title is still up for grabs. Regular season winners Imoco took the first lead with a hard-fought 3-2 (23-25, 25-23, 23-25, 25-19, 15-11) victory at home in game one. Vero Volley, who finished the regular season in third place, however, edged forward by shutting out the opponents at home, 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-18), in game two, and producing a 3-2 (25-21, 14-25, 20-25, 27-25, 15-13) upset in Villorba to edge forward after game three. The reigning club world champions struck back on Saturday to master a 3-0 (26-24, 25-20, 25-17) sweep of game four in Monza, level the series and set up the big decider on Monday at home, when and where the 2023 champions will emerge.

It is the second consecutive time these two teams race against each other for the Italian title in the final playoff. Last year, Vero Volley managed an away upset of Imoco in the first match, but then the Panthers gained control and won the next three to celebrate their fourth back-to-back and fifth overall national crown. Now playing in their second Serie A1 final, the team from Milan will try to beat the odds on Monday and triumph as Italian champions for the first time in the club’s history. The overall head-to-head record of 26-5 also heavily tilts the odds the way of Imoco’s sixth trophy, but this is likely to have no bearing when the two stellar squads come out on the court at a packed Palaverde with only one thing in mind, the Scudetto title.

With some of the world’s highest-level stars like Poland’s Joanna Wolosz, USA’s Kathryn Plummer and Kelsey Robinson, Sweden’s Isabelle Haak, or Italy’s Monica De Gennaro and Sarah Fahr, among others, on Imoco’s side, and reigning world champion with Serbia Jovana Stevanovic, reigning Olympic champions with the United States Jordan Larson and Jordan Thompson, or Italy’s Alessia Orro, Myriam Sylla and Raphaela Folie, to name a few, on Vero Volley’s squad, and thousands of fans cheering on from the sold-out stands, the outcome is unpredictable.

“On Saturday, after a bit of initial tension, we were very good at relaxing and finding our game and the right tools to beat Milan. We limited our mistakes, hit well and defended orderly. In short, we played as we know how to play,” said Imoco’s Libero Monica De Gennaro. “But now we're even, both teams want this championship and I expect another battle in game five. We are clear that there will be a fight, because we know the strength of our opponents. Playing this match at the Palaverde will be fantastic. The atmosphere that our fans can create will help us give our best to achieve the goal, and we will give our all as always.”

“We have to reset and start over,” commented Vero Volley’s head coach Marco Gaspari. “We congratulate Conegliano for the stratospheric game they had in the fourth encounter. We must remember Conegliano's strength from the first to the last point. We start from scratch, as always, and with the desire to make the most of all the opportunities that come our way. Let us remember the sacrifices we made to get here. I don't think many would have expected a fifth match between Imoco Volley and Vero Volley. So let's enjoy this opportunity.”

Lega Pallavolo Serie A1 Femminile’s Final Playoff:
May 6: Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano v Vero Volley Milan 3-2 (23-25, 25-23, 23-25, 25-19, 15-11)
May 9: Vero Volley Milan v Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-18)
May 11: Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano v Vero Volley Milan, 2-3 (21-25, 25-14, 25-20, 25-27, 13-15)
May 13: Vero Volley Milan v Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano, 0-3 (24-26, 20-25, 17-25)
May 15: Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano v Vero Volley Milan, 20:50 local (18:50 UTC)