Novara

Novara players celebrate the victory that put them in the semifinals of the Italian League

The fourth and final spot in the semifinals of the Lega Pallavolo vivo Serie A1 Femminile has been taken. Igor Gorgonzola Novara will join Prosecco Doc Imoco Volley Conegliano, Vero Volley Monza and Savino del Bene Scandicci in the final portion of the race for the title of the Italian League, which is now limited to the four giants.

The second best team of the regular season, Novara will now clash with third-placed Monza in a best-of-three semifinal series. The other semifinal will reunite defending champions Conegliano and reigning CEV Challenge Cup winners Scandicci.

The quarterfinal series between Novara and Bosca S. Bernardo Cuneo was the only one to go to a third and decisive match. Back at home on Saturday, Novara rebounded from a mid-week loss to secure their semifinal spot with a solid straight-set (25-23, 25-12, 25-23) victory in front of their fans.

“We approached this match differently from the second one, we were more concentrated and aware of what we needed to do well against a team like Cuneo,” said head coach Stefano Lavarini. “I think they ended a tremendous season playing really well, but we still found a way to make it to the semifinals. Monza will be a tough opponent and we’ll need to play even better.”

Igor Gorgonzola Novara vs. Bosca S.Bernardo Cuneo - Match Highlights

The team's offensive production in the decisive match was almost evenly split between Ebrar Karakurt, match MVP Britt Herbots and Haleigh Washington with the Turkish opposite tallying 13 points (nine kills, three blocks, one ace), the Belgian outside hitter delivering 12 (all in kills) and the American Olympic champion middle blocker producing 11 with eight kills, two blocks and one ace.

“We wanted to react after a bad performance during the week in Cuneo and we managed to do it against a team that didn’t give us any free points,” Herbots, who hit a fantastic 75% during the match, remarked. “They played excellent defence again but this time we had more clarity in our decisions and managed to win.”

Cuneo had two players reaching double digits in scoring in outside hitter Alice Degradi, who produced 11 points (ten kills, one ace), and middle blocker Federica Squarcini, who added ten (five kills, five blocks).

The semifinals of the Italian League start on Wednesday, with the first encounter between Conegliano and Scandicci at 20.30 local time. Novara and Monza will meet for the first time on Thursday at the same time.