Lega Pallavolo Serie A Femminile 2022 - News

Vero Volley Milan (source: legavolleyfemminile.it)

Led by their American striker Jordan Thompson, Vero Volley Milan produced a second straight upset of reigning club world champions Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano, this time on Imoco’s home ground in Villorba, and closed in on the Lega Pallavolo Serie A1 Femminile title in Italy, getting to within a win from a historic success.

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At a sold-out Palaverde, packed by well over 5,300 spectators, the visiting team delivered a 3-2 (25-21, 14-25, 20-25, 27-25, 15-13) victory in a rollercoaster third match of the best-of-five championship playoff to take a lead of two wins to one in the series. Their American opposite spearheaded Vero Volley’s attack with 24 points, to which she added three kill blocks and an ace to earn the Most Valuable Player award. She shared the top scorer honours in the match with compatriot Kathryn Plummer. Imoco’s outside hitter also finished with 28 points, including three blocks. Her Swedish teammate, Imoco’s Generation O star Isabelle Haak, tallied up 24 points, also including three blocks and an ace.

The defending champions and regular season winners from Conegliano, in fact, heavily outscored third-placed Vero Volley in both attack (79 to 58 points) and blocking (12 to 7), as well as overall (109 to 101), but made over twice as many unforced errors (31 to 15), while the opponents kept cooler in the deciding moments of sets four and five, with Thomson delivering the final blow for 15-13 in the tie-breaker.

For Imoco, it was only the third defeat of this domestic season (or fourth overall, if their CEV Champions League loss to Türkiye’s Fenerbahce Opet Istanbul is counted). The girls from Milan, on the other hand, lost the first four encounters with the Panthers this season, including the first match of the final series, but have now won two in a row to get to within a win of their first-ever Serie A1 gold. For the next match, the series moves back to Monza, where, on Saturday, at 21:25 local time (19:25 UTC), a full arena will hope to witness their favourites’ historic success.

“It was a real battle that tested us really hard,” said MVP Thompson after the game. “We showed how much we have grown during the season and how much quality we can bring out. We put them in difficulty at key moments, taking advantage of the opportunities. We have to start game four from scratch on Saturday, without thinking about what's at stake - staying together, playing as a team and giving everything to reach the goal.”

“It's a pity really, because after the first set, where we were a bit stuck, we did really well, for large stretches of the match we were the Panthers that everyone knows, we kept a good pace and the game flowed smoothly,” commented Imoco’s Polish setter and captain Joanna Wolosz. “Unfortunately, at the end of the fourth set we weren't able to close as we should, but I remain confident and I am convinced that we will return to the Palaverde on Monday to play again in front of this fantastic audience. We go to Milan with confidence. We have to start again from the good things we showed today and play as we know. I'm confident and I know that the team still believes in it.”

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, 21:25 local (19:25 UTC)
May 15: Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano v Vero Volley Milan, 20:45 local (18:45 UTC) – if necessary