Adelina 1711

Adelina Budăi-Ungureanu has been in strong form with Pinerolo (Photo: Lega Femminile)

One of the early surprises of the 2023-2024 Lega Pallavolo Femminile Serie A season, Wash4Green Pinerolo have the opportunity to take another step forward this weekend and enter the Italian League top-four.

In order to do that, however, they will need to upset one of the top teams in the country, Allianz Vero Volley Mliano, on the road, when the sides meet at 17:00 local time (16:00 GMT) on Sunday.

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Playing in the Italian elite for just the second time, Pinerolo barely avoided relegation in 2022-2023 by getting just six wins in 26 matches and finishing tenth. This season, the team has been much stronger, with four victories in seven matches, and currently sit in fifth place in the standings.

If they beat Milano for the first time in club history (they lost both encounters held last season) and they manage to do it in three or four sets, Pinerolo, who currently have 12 points, would overcome their opponents, who won five of their six matches and have 14 points.

“This match will be a big challenge for us,” said Pinerolo’s head coach Michele Marchiaro. “We come into the match determined to show the best version of ourselves as a team and to continue improving. The goal is to take as many positives from this match as possible.”

One of the returning players from last season’s campaign, Romanian outside hitter Adelina Budăi-Ungureanu has been one of the reasons for the team’s success in 2023-2024 as she leads Pinerolo’s scoring efforts with 98 points. Veteran outside hitter Indre Sorokaite, who ranks fourth in the league with ten aces, has also been a pillar for Pinerolo in the first weeks of the season.

Milano had back-to-back losses to defending champions Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano in the last two weeks (one in the Italian Supercoppa and the other in the Italian League), but responded well last weekend, topping then-leaders Igor Gorgonzola Novara and ending their undefeated run in the season.

“We have to give a lot of credit to Pinerolo for avoiding relegation last year and this season they upgraded their roster, getting experienced players and many athletes who are highly motivated and the results are showing,” Milano’s coach Marco Gaspari reflected. “They have two great options at opposite and also a pair of excellent outside hitters. They will certainly come here looking for a win or to at least take points and we need to remain focused on our goal of not only getting the results but also continuing to grow as a team.”

The most impactful signing made by Italian teams this season, star opposite Paola Egonu has been delivering as expected as she currently ranks second in points scored (131) in the entire Lega Femminile.

Six more matches over the weekend

The weekend action in Italy will start on Saturday, with two matches – Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri vs. Itas Trentino at 18:00 local time (17:00 GMT) and Trasportipesanti Casalmaggiore vs. Roma Volley Club at 20:30 local time (19:30 GMT).

Sunday’s schedule includes three other matches at 17:00 local time (16:00 GMT) – Megabox Ondulati Savio Vallefoglia vs. Novara, Il Bisonte Firenze vs. Uyba Volley Busto Arsizio and Honda Olivero S. Bernardo Cuneo vs. Savino Del Bene Scandicci – and one at 19:30 local time (18:30 GMT) – Volley Bergamo 1991 vs. Imoco.

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Lega Pallavolo Femminile Serie A1
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