Lega Pallavolo Serie A Femminile 2022 - News

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

Vero Volley Milan have never been as close to a much anticipated historic first title in Italy as they are now. They lead the Lega Pallavolo Serie A1 Femminile best-of-five championship series against Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano by two wins to one and host the opponents for game four at Arena Di Monza on Saturday evening at 21:30 local (19:30 UTC).

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Vero Volley finished the regular season in third place. Then they lived up to the expectations to overcome sixth-placed Trasportipesanti Casalmaggiore in a difficult quarterfinal series before upsetting regular season runners-up Savino Del Bene Scandicci in the best-of-three semifinals, beating them by 3-2 in a deciding third match away. The team from Milan lost the first match of their best-of-five final playoff at heavy favourites Imoco by a hard-fought 3-2 (23-25, 25-23, 23-25, 25-19, 15-11) last Saturday, but then leveled the series after Tuesday’s convincing 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-18) shutout at home. As they travelled to Villorba for Thursday’s game three, Vero Volley achieved an important break with a stunning 3-2 (25-21, 14-25, 20-25, 27-25, 15-13) away victory to set themselves up for historic success as they welcome the mighty opponent again for game four on Saturday.

This storyline has already been quite different from last year’s final, the first-ever for Vero Volley, when they upset Imoco in the first match, but went on to lose the next three as the girls from Conegliano triumphed with another trophy. The defending Italian champions and reigning club world champions still lead the overall head-to-head against Vero Volley by 25-5 and are not even close to giving up in the ongoing quest for a sixth (fifth consecutive) national crown.

On Saturday evening, both sides are expected to appear in front of “boiling” stands on the court in Monza in their full stellar squads, featuring top-calibre international stars like Americans Jordan Larson and Jordan Thompson, Serbian Jovana Stevanovic or Italians Myriam Sylla, Alessia Orro and Raphaela Folie on the home side, as well as Poland’s Joanna Wolosz, Sweden’s Isabelle Haak, USA’s Kelsey Robinson and Kathryn Plummer, or Italy’s Monica De Gennaro and Sarah Fahr in the Imoco jerseys, to name a few, so anything could happen.

The series could either end on Saturday with a shocking downfall for Imoco and an exhilarating achievement for Vero Volley, or extend the thrill to a crucial fifth match on Monday at Imoco’s home ground in Villorba, when, again, anything could happen...

“In game three, our error management worked well. We made a few mistakes and put Conegliano in a position to risk more. Our block-defence didn't work though. We touched and defended a lot, but lost balls that we usually keep. Conegliano have a high attack, but order and sacrifice are needed. These aspects will be fundamental in game four,” Vero Volley’s head coach Marco Gaspari said. “We will make some small tactical adjustments; so will they. Let's think about the present, one ball at a time. This has been our mentality since the quarterfinal playoffs. We hope that with the support from the stands we will be able to play a solid and patient match.”

“For large stretches of match three at the Palaverde, we rediscovered our game and showed who we are. It’s a pity because we came close to victory which narrowly escaped us,” commented Imoco’s setter and captain Joanna Wolosz. “Congratulations to Milan who have proved to be a strong team, who make few mistakes and never give up, but we knew it. In any case, nothing happened, we still have our destiny in our hands and I am convinced that we will go to Monza to play a great game. We can win and we want to return to the Palaverde on Monday for match five.”

“We know that Vero Volley will continue to give their best and, on the wings of enthusiasm, they will want to close to celebrate the title with their fans,” added Imoco’s head coach Daniele Santarelli. “But we are Conegliano and as we have shown we can win against anyone. To do this, however, we have to play our volleyball, as we did on Thursday, but with fewer mistakes and a little more quality, and we are aware of it. I know the girls will give it their all. I've seen them determined and with a desire for redemption. We go to Monza to win.”

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, 21:30 local (19:30 UTC)
May 15: Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano v Vero Volley Milan, 20:45 local (18:45 UTC) – if necessary