Lega Volley Femminile A1 2023 - News.

Chieri 2703

Chieri players celebrate their huge road win over Novara (Photo: LVF)

The playoffs of the 2023-2024 Lega Pallavolo Femminile Serie A Tigotà started on Wednesday with exciting matches in the first leg of the quarterfinal round, including a pair of tie-breakers and the first upset of the postseason.

Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri pulled out the biggest win of the day, topping Igor Gorgonzola Novara on the road and joining Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano, Savino Del Bene Scandicci and Allianz Vero Volley Milano among the teams that started the best-of-three series in advantage.

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Chieri stun Novara

Chieri ended the regular season eight points behind Novara in fifth place, but caught their opponents off guard for the second time in the season, repeating what they had done in the Coppa Italia quarterfinals. Playing on the road, in Novara, Chieri won a roller-coaster of a match, prevailing 3-2 (25-18, 17-25, 28-26, 19-25, 15-8).

Belgian opposite Kaja Grobelna led Chieri’s scoring with 23 points (21 kills, two aces), followed by American outside hitter Avery Skinner, who produced 16 (13 kills, two blocks, one ace). Russian opposite Vita Akimova tallied 20 points (18 kills, one ace, one block) to Novara, two more than outside hitter Caterina Bosetti, who had 14 kills, three blocks and one ace.

“It was a very exciting and hard-fought match, as it’s always the case with these two teams. The way the match was going, I had a feeling that whoever won the third set was going to take the match and that’s what happened. We entered the tie-breaker putting all our energy on the court and it worked.” Kaja Grobelna – Chieri’s opposite

Milano put to sweat against Pinerolo

The encounter between the teams ranked third and sixth in the regular season almost ended up with an upset too, but Milano managed to come back from a 2-1 deficit and defeat Wash4Green Pinerolo 3-2 (25-20, 23-25, 23-25, 25-21, 15-13).

Star opposite Paola Egonu was in outstanding form, producing a match-high 31 points (25 kills, four blocks, two aces) for Milano – outside hitters Myriam Sylla and Héléna Cazaute added 19 and 17, respectively. Swiss opposite Maja Storck led her team’s offense with 23 points (22 kills, one block).

“It was a great win for us. In the playoffs, all that matters is that you win, the score is not important. We feel like we’re still reaching our best form and getting this result was important for us. We need to learn from this match and focus on match two.” Laura Heyrman – Milano’s middle blocker

Imoco sweep Roma

Defending champions Imoco had no trouble dominating Roma Volley Club to a 3-0 (25-21, 25-18, 25-18) victory in Villorba. The regular season winners secured their 27th victory in the season, remaining undefeated, and handed Roma a loss in the first playoff match in club history.

With 22 points (18 kills, four blocks), Swedish opposite Isabelle Haak carried Imoco’s offense, followed by American outside hitter Kathryn Plummer, who delivered 13 (nine kills, two blocks, two aces). Albanian opposite Erblira Bici was Roma’s most productive player, with 14 points (13 kills, one ace).

“I felt that we started a little bit slow and only found our rhythm at the end of the first set, but after that, we were able to maintain a good level. When the playoffs start, what you did during the regular season doesn’t count anymore and we’re happy to have started it in a good way.” Monica De Gennaro – Imoco’s libero

Scandicci dominate Vallefoglia

The second-best team in the regular season, Scandicci also started the playoffs well. Playing at home, in Firenze, they handled Megabox Ondulati Savio Vallefoglia well and started the series with a 3-1 (25-16, 25-17, 21-25, 25-23).

Italian national team opposite Ekaterina Antropova and Chinese star outside hitter Zhu Ting were responsible for most of Scandicci’s production, registering 31 (23 kills, six aces, two blocks) and 25 (23 kills, two blocks) points, respectively. Outside hitter Alice Degradi notched 20 points, all in kills, for Vallefoglia.

“I don’t think we played a great match. We won the first two sets with a certain level of control, but that was mostly due to good serving runs we had and not necessarily to us playing well. We fought during the entire match and that’s something we deserve praise for, but we’ll need to take our game to another level on Saturday.” Massimo Barbolini – Scandicci’s coach

Next matches over the weekend

The second leg of the quarterfinals will be held over the weekend, with two matches on Saturday and another two on Sunday. Vallefoglia and Scandicci will open the schedule, playing at 14:30 local time (13:30 CET) on Saturday, with Chieri and Novara battling five hours later.

On Sunday, Pinerolo will host Milano at 17:00 local time (16:00 CET), while Roma will be at home against Imoco at 20:30 local time (19:30 CET).

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