Monza 2704

Monza players celebrate their dramatic victory over Novara

Vero Volley Monza secured their first appearance in the Lega Pallavolo vivo Serie A1 Femminile Finals in dramatic and spectacular fashion after the team overcame Igor Gorgonzola Novara in the third and final match of their semifinal series on Wednesday and are set to challenge defending champions Prosecco Doc Imoco Volley Conegliano for the title.

Novara opened the best-of-three series with a 3-2 win last week at home, but Monza fired back with a straight-set victory on Sunday and forced the third and decisive match. The series returned to Novara and the hosts were very close to their fifth-straight appearance in the Italian League Finals after winning the first two sets, but Monza fought back to pull out a five-set (24-26, 21-25, 25-22, 25-23, 15-12) victory and advance.

Igor Gorgonzola Novara vs. Vero Volley Monza - Match Highlights

The team coached by Marco Gaspari got revenge against Novara after being eliminated by their rivals last season in the semifinals. They will start the best-of-five Finals on Saturday, at 20.30 CET / 18.30 GMT on the road against Conegliano.

As was the case during the entire series, Monza relied on their collective strength to battle Novara’s tremendous star power. The third encounter between the teams saw the winning side, who led their opponents in aces by six to one, have an impressive six players reaching double digits in scoring.

Among them was Polish opposite Magdalena Stysiak, who received the match’s MVP award. The 2.03m-tall, 21-year-old hitter had her ups and downs, sitting out of the entire fourth set after starting the match, but came up big when Monza needed her, delivering 22 points (21 kills, one ace), including the game-winner.

Monza also got excellent production from outside hitter Alessia Gennari, with 13 points (12 kills, one block), middle blocker Anna Danesi, with 12 (seven kills, five blocks), outside hitter Jordan Larson and Dana Rettke, with 11 each, and opposite Lise van Hecke, who came off the bench to add ten.

“We won this tie-breaker with our minds, hearts and nerves,” Gennari commented. “I think at the end it came down to the team that made fewer mistakes and had more energy. I’m very happy because we really deserved to make it to the Finals.”

Novara, who were more efficient with their blocking, scoring 16 points to Monza’s ten, had the top scorer of the match in Ebrar Karakurt. The Turkish opposite produced an impressive 30 points, with 26 kills and four blocks.

Karakurt 2704

Karakurt's 30 points weren't enough to help Novara make it to their fifth-straight final

Dutch outside hitter Nika Daalderop, with 15 kills and three blocks, and American middle blocker Haleigh Washington, with ten kills, seven blocks and one ace, were both highly productive with 18 points, but their efforts weren’t enough to help Novara win the series.

“We weren’t good enough psychologically and when it came to knowing how to manage the match,” Novara’s coach Stefano Lavarini reacted. “Twice in this series we let them come back after winning the first two sets and we didn’t take the opportunity we had to take the first set of the second match. Our issues weren’t technical or tactical, they were mental. Monza clearly deserved more than us and congratulations to them for making it to the Finals.”