Savino Del Bene’s Chinese star Zhu Ting spikes above Imoco’s blockers (source:

Savino Del Bene’s Chinese star Zhu Ting spikes above Imoco’s blockers

The 23rd leg of the regular season in Lega Pallavolo Serie A1 Femminile, taking place with another seven exciting matches in Italy this weekend, will be topped off with a gigantic clash between the top two teams in the current standings on Sunday evening. Second-placed Savino Del Bene Scandicci will host table leaders Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano at the Palazzo Wanny in Florence starting at 20:30 local time (19:30 UTC).

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Defending national titleholders and reigning club world champions Imoco will have to recover quickly from the blow they suffered on Thursday in Turkiye, when Fenerbahce Opet Istanbul shut them out in their first CEV Champions League quarterfinal and put an end to a 23-game winning streak across all competitions. The Conegliano team’s previous defeat was back in early December, when Savino Del Bene surprised them with a straight-set sweep at Imoco’s home venue at the Pala Verde and handed them the only loss of the A1 season so far.

“We played a game below our standard level and in the next days we have to look at what we did wrong, correct the mistakes and present ourselves with a different attitude,” Imoco’s libero Monica De Gennaro said after the defeat in Istanbul.

Now the table leaders, on 60 points and a 21-1 win-loss record, will try to get back at Savino Del Bene, who have been on an 11-game victory run of their own, including matches in the Italian League and the CEV Cup. The team from Scandicci are second in the standings on 56 and 18-4. If the home team take the three points on Sunday, they will narrow the gap to Imoco down to just a point and make the race for pole position ahead of the playoffs really exciting for the rest of the regular season. Imoco lead the head-to-head series by a convincing 24 wins against Savino’s six.

Trasportipesanti’s Elena Perinelli tries to overcome Il Bisonte’s block (source:

Trasportipesanti’s Elena Perinelli tries to overcome Il Bisonte’s block

In Saturday’s late match, Trasportipesanti Casalmaggiore will welcome Il Bisonte Florence to the Pala Radi in Cremona at 20:30 (19:30). They are currently in sixth place on 35 and 11-11. Taking the three points against ninth-placed Il Bisonte would turn them into the sixth team with a safe place in the playoffs. Meanwhile the team from Florence (28 and 9-13) will be eager to come up with a win at Trasportipesanti to save better chances at making it among the top eight by the end of the regular season.

While Trasportipesanti won their last two matches to bounce back from a five-game losing streak, Il Bisonte, on the contrary, lost their last three matches after having won five in a row. The club from Casalmaggiore have been victorious in 14 of the 21 encounters between the two teams, including the last time they met in early December in Florence, when Bulgarian captain Emiliya Dimitrova led Casalmaggiore to a four-set success.

The weekend will open at 18:00 (17:00) on Saturday with a game between Megabox Ondulati Del Savio Vallefoglia, standing 11th and still in contention for the playoffs, and fifth-placed Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri, followed by the match between third-placed Vero Volley Milan and Cuneo Granda S.Bernardo, who are currently 10th and still with a shot at the top eight.

Before the big match between Savino Del Bene and Imoco on Sunday, three matches involving the three teams racing for survival in the top division will be played at 17:00 (16:00). Bottom-of-the-table CBF Balducci HR Macerata are not entitled to any mistakes as they host e-work Busto Arsizio. Wash4Green Pinerolo are also in desperate need for points as they entertain Volley Bergamo 1991, if they want to narrow the gap to 14th-placed Bartoccini-Fortinfissi Perugia, should the latter stumble at Igor Gorgonzola Novara.

Lega Pallavolo Serie A1 Femminile’s 23rd leg schedule:

Mar 18, 18:00 local (17:00 UTC): Megabox Ondulati Del Savio Vallefoglia v Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri

Mar 18, 20:00 local (19:00 UTC): Vero Volley Milan v Cuneo Granda S.Bernardo

Mar 18, 20:30 local (19:30 UTC): Trasportipesanti Casalmaggiore v Il Bisonte Florence

Mar 19, 17:00 local (16:00 UTC): CBF Balducci HR Macerata v e-work Busto Arsizio

Mar 19, 17:00 local (16:00 UTC): Igor Gorgonzola Novara v Bartoccini-Fortinfissi Perugia

Mar 19, 17:00 local (16:00 UTC): Wash4Green Pinerolo v Volley Bergamo 1991

Mar 19, 20:30 local (19:30 UTC): SavinoDelBeneScandiccivProsecco Doc ImocoConegliano