Kaja Grobelna celebrates (source: legavolleyfemminile.it)

Kaja Grobelna celebrates (source: legavolleyfemminile.it)

The second half of Italy’s Lega Pallavolo Serie A1 Femminile regular season got underway over the weekend in Italy with the seven matches of the 14th round. In the tightest and most interesting match, Belgian opposite Kaja Grobelna captained fifth-placed Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri to a five-set away victory over sixth-placed Trasportipesanti Casalmaggiore and stood out as the best scorer of the round.

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Just two days after her 28th birthday, Grobelna delivered 28 points towards Chieri’s 3-2 (19-25, 25-19, 25-17, 20-25, 15-12) win and earned the MVP of the match award. She produced two aces, three kill blocks and 23 spiking points as her team claimed their 10th victory of the season and upped their record to 29 points widening the gap to Casalmaggiore to six points. The latter kept their sixth place on 23 points and a 7-7 win-loss record.

Trasportipesanti Casalmaggiore v Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri 2-3 (25-19, 19-25, 17-25, 25-20, 12-15): match highlights

French outside Helena Cazaute put away another 15 points (1 ace, 2 blocks), while German middle blocker Camilla Weitzel also reached double digits with 12 points (3 aces) on Chieri’s side. Playing without their Bulgarian star opposite and captain Emiliya Dimitrova, Casalmaggiore had as many as four of their players score 10+ points in the match. American outside Alexandra Frantti topped the list with 23 points (2 aces, 1 block), followed by 22-year-old opposite Adhuoljok Malual with 14, Dutch middle Juliet Lohuis with 13 and her cross-court teammate Laura Melandri with 11.

“We were expecting this type of game and we knew it wouldn't be easy to play here. It was our first tie-break this season and I especially liked the reaction that led us to victory.” Alessia Mazzaro, middle blocker of Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri

In the weekend’s other five-setter, Megabox Ondulati Del Savio Vallefoglia celebrated a 3-2 (25-21, 21-25, 25-17, 19-25, 15-7) away victory over Cuneo Granda S.Bernardo on Sunday. Two players, Vallefoglia’s American opposite Andrea Drews and Cuneo’s Hungarian outside Greta Szakmary shared the top scorer honours of the match with 19 points each. Russian outside and captain Tatiana Kosheleva added another 17 for the winners, while Serbian middle Maja Aleksic scored 15 times (2 aces, 4 blocks) towards the victory and claimed the MVP nomination. With the win, Vallefoglia overtook Cuneo in the table and now stand ninth on 17 points. Also on a 6-8 win-loss record, Cuneo are 10th on 16 points.

Meanwhile, each of the top four teams in the standings added three points to their record.

On the road, leaders Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano produced a 3-0 (25-21, 25-17, 28-26) shutout of Volley Bergamo 1991 to improve to 13-1 and 38 points. Swedish star opposite Isabelle Haak was once again the best scorer of the match and snatched the MVP recognition. She delivered all of her 22 points in offence at a 56% success rate. The match also marked middle Sarah Fahr’s return to the court after an eight-month absence. The Italian international started in the first two sets and scored six points. Bergamo’s loss was their eighth for the season. They stand seventh on 20 points.

19-year-old Russian opposite Ekaterina Antropova scored the match high of 15 points (2 aces, 1 block) towards Savino Del Bene Scandicci’s 3-0 (25-13, 25-17, 25-19) sweep of visiting Bartoccini-Fortinfissi Perugia, which kept her teams within three points from Imoco in the table. Second-placed Scandicci are now up to an 11-3 win-loss record and 35 points, while Perugia are 12th on 2-12 and 7.

Third-placed Vero Volley Milano also got their job done in three sets as they visited second-from-the-bottom Wash4Green Pinerolo. 22-year-old Belarusian outside Hanna Davyskiba contributed a match-high 16 points (1 ace, 3 blocks) towards a 3-0 (25-22, 25-21, 25-21) shutout. Milano improved to 12-2 and 34, while Pinerolo dropped to 2-12 and 6.

Igor Gorgonzola Novara lost a set in their trip to 14th-placed CBF Balducci HR Macerata. Experienced Cuban outside Kenia Carcaces and Turkish star opposite Ebrar Karakurt led the way to a 3-1 (25-21, 25-18, 24-26, 25-18) victory with 24 and 23 points, respectively. Italian middle Anna Danesi added another 19 (1 ace, 3 blocks). Novara are in fourth place on 11-3 and 31. Macerata are still at the bottom on 2-12 and 6, trailing Pinerolo on set ratio.

20-year-old outside Loveth Omoruyi scored 16 points (3 blocks) towards e-work Busto Arsizio’s 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 25-20) home victory over Il Bisonte Firenze, while her Belgian counterpart on the other side of the net, Britt Herbots produced 15. The win lifted Busto Arsizio back to the top eight, on 6-8 and 18, while Firenze stayed 11th on 4-10 and 14.

The Lega Pallavolo Serie A1 Femminile will return to action next weekend with Chieri welcoming Cuneo, Novara entertaining Pinerolo and Perugia hosting Macerata on Saturday, January 14. Sunday’s programme features Vallefoglia against Scandicci, Conegiano against Busto Arsizio, Firenze against Bergamo and Milano against Casalmaggiore.