The duel between second-placed Vero Volley Milano and third-placed Igor Gorgonzola Novara will be the highlight of the tenth week of play in the Lega Pallavolo Serie A Femminile, which will feature one match on Saturday and five on Sunday.

Milano, who finished second in the Italian League in 2021-2022, and Novara, who occupied the same position in the three seasons before that, are both among the teams competing to prevent defending champions Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano from winning their fifth consecutive title. They will face each other at 18:00 local time (17:00 GMT) on Sunday.

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After achieving their best finish in the Italian League to date last season, Milano have held on to most of their key players for 2022-2023. American Olympic champion outside hitter Jordan Larson has also rejoined the club, after also playing for the team at the end of last season.

Another American, opposite Jordan Thompson, was among Milano’s main new signings for the season and her arrival has changed the team’s playing system. Polish star Magdalena Stysiak, who played as an opposite last season, has moved back to her original outside hitter spot so that both players can be in the team’s starting lineup.

The positional change has not slowed the 21-year-old Polish scorer down as she continues to be one of Milano’s top scorers, ranking second in the team with 110 points (89 kills, 13 aces, eight blocks). The Polish star, who was the second best scorer of the 2022 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship, is also making a strong contribution on the backcourt as her 49 passes are the third best mark in the team.


Danesi's blocking has immediately become an important asset for Novara

One of Novara's new faces for the season, however, is middle blocker Anna Danesi, who was one of the players who left Milano this off-season. She will face her former team for the first time on Sunday. With Milano she won the CEV Cup in 2020-2021 and multiple domestic medals in the Italian League (silver in 2021-2022 and bronze in 2020-2021) and the Italian Cup (bronze in 2019-2020 and 2020-2021).

Like Stysiak, the 26-year-old middle blocker was also one of the individual standouts of this year's Women's World Championship, helping Italy claim bronze with her 42 blocks. It was the second best mark in the entire tournament, and helped Danesi earn a place on the event's Dream Team. She has immediately earned a starting spot with Novara and is already the team's top blocker in the Lega Femminile, with 16 stops in her first nine matches. Danesi made it to the podium with her new club for the first time a few weeks ago, taking silver in the Italian Supercoppa.

Milano enter the match on the back of a good run. The team coached by Marco Gaspari has won nine of their last ten matches. Novara, on the other hand, will be looking for more stability after they had four wins and two losses in their six most recent encounters.

The Italian rivals have faced each other 18 times since 2016 and Novara narrowly lead the series with ten wins to Milano’s eight. The teams also met in the semifinals of the Italian League last season, with Milano coming out on top with two wins to one.