Lega Pallavolo Serie A Femminile 2022 - News

Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano 2023 Italian champions (photo credit: Rubin / LVF)

Yet another game, yet another thrill and yet another championship title for Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano! Vero Volley Milan were well on their way to disappoint the home crowd at a packed Palaverde and sensationally dethrone the champions in Monday’s deciding fifth match of the Lega Pallavolo Serie A1 Femminile final playoff in Italy, but the home team pulled Alexa Gray out of their sleeve and she miraculously brought the Panthers back from beyond and on to their sixth national title.

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Vero Volley were well in control of the first set, opening a seven-point lead at 18-11 and reaching set point at 24-18. Imoco woke up to deny it five times, before the opponents could finally close the set. The girls from Milan stayed on track and continued their strong performance in the second set, once again breaking away with a six-point advantage, but the Panthers kept fighting, led by their Canadian outside hitter Alexa Gray, who subbed in during the course of the set. She put away seven points towards a furious comeback, including the set winner in the overtime, 26-24. From that moment on, the momentum was on Imoco’s side. They prevailed in the next two sets and, after two hours of play, closed the match at 3-1 (23-25, 26-24, 25-17, 25-21), celebrating their fifth consecutive and sixth overall national crown and depriving Vero Volley of a historic first title.

Gray produced a total of 25 points in the match, putting away an ace and two blocks and spiking at a 69% success rate, to earn the Most Valuable Player award. Imoco’s Swedish opposite Isabelle Haak tallied another 25 points towards the victory, while middle blocker Sarah Fahr also reached the double digits with 12, including the match winner. She scored four kill blocks and an ace, and registered a 64% success rate in attack. Vero Volley’s American opposite Jordan Thompson was the best scorer of the match with 32 points to her name.

With this Serie A1 title, the club from Conegliano closed a very successful season crowned by a golden quadruple. In addition to winning all three domestic trophies in Italy, the Panthers also returned to the FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship throne, and the only trophy they fell short of conquering was that of continental titleholders in the CEV Champions League.

“I don't remember much, I'm completely blacked out!” an elated Alexa Gray said after the final match. “I'm so proud of the team and happy to have helped through a difficult time.”

“I've never been afraid in this final, because when we play we are fantastic,” commented Sara Fahr. “We don't leave anything to anyone. We are Conegliano and we just want to win. I'm proud of my team for a perfect end to the year. Gray was really good. She played little during the season and in such an important moment she brought out her qualities. Everyone who entered the court chipped in. We were a real team. For me, it's wonderful to be here after the injury. I've worked a lot, I've grown a lot, and I'm really happy to have had the opportunity to be able to compete for this title with my teammates.”

“Thanks to Gray for being ready!” exclaimed Imoco’s head coach Daniele Santarelli. “She played an incredible game and helped us in a moment of great difficulty. I never expected such a high-level performance. We won a crazy final series. I congratulate Milan. They did what they could, making the best use of every opportunity. We didn't play to our full potential, but in the end what matters is bringing home the trophy and we've done it four times this year. I'm really happy, especially for these fantastic fans. Competing at these sports halls, both here and in Monza, created incredible emotions that give dreams to all the fans, especially the little ones.”

“We come out of this game with our heads held high,” said Vero Volley’s outside hitter Myriam Sylla, an Imoco player until last season. “Conegliano showed its worth and we stayed on the court to fight until the end. We can only congratulate the winners. If I had to replay one game, I would definitely replay game four differently.”

“A great season and also a great test tonight!” added Vero Volley’s head coach Marco Gaspari. “We have always had great respect for Conegliano, but obviously we believed in ourselves, as it should be. Today the regret is for the second set, but it was thanks to the opponents. I am honoured to have coached these girls, who gave their heart, soul and more without ever giving up. A big round of applause to all the girls, who have been part of our journey this year, and to my staff, who have helped me so much!”

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 0-3 (24-26, 20-25, 17-25)
May 15: Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano v Vero Volley Milan 3-1 (23-25, 26-24, 25-17, 25-21)