Lega Volley Femminile A1 2023 - News.

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Imoco and Novara will battle for a spot in the Italian League Finals (Photo: LVF)

The semifinals of the 2023-2024 Lega Pallavolo Femminile Serie A Tigotà begin this weekend and, for a fifth straight season, Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano, Savino Del Bene Scandicci, Allianz Vero Volley Milano and Igor Gorgonzola Novara are the last teams standings in the race for the Italian title.

Scandicci and Milano will open the playoffs, battling in Firenze on Saturday, at 20:30 local time (19:30 GMT), while defending champions Imoco and Novara will start their best-of-three series on Sunday, at the same time, in Villorba.

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Savino Del Bene Scandicci vs. Allianz Vero Volley Milano

The second-best team in the regular season, Scandicci advanced to the semifinals with a pair of victories over Megabox Ondulati Savio Vallefoglia in the quarterfinals. Looking to make their first appearance in the Italian League Finals, they had Serbian setter Maja Ognjenovic, Italian opposite Ekaterina Antropova and Chinese outside hitter Zhu Ting as some of the key players in their campaign this season.

Milano enter the semifinals trying to earn the right to play in the Italian League Finals for a third-straight season after falling to Imoco in the last two years. The team, which ranked third in the regular season and eliminated Wash4Green Pinerolo in two matches in the quarterfinals, counts on the tremendous offensive power of Italian opposite Paola Egonu, as well as the defensive solidness of Dominican libero Brenda Castillo and the leadership of outside hitter Myriam Sylla.

The two teams have one of the most balanced records among Italian teams, with Milano having won 14 times and Scandicci 12 in the previous 26 encounters. The teams also met in the semifinals of last year’s Italian League and this season’s Coppa Italia, with Milano prevailing on both occasions – they came out on top in the last five duels.

We get to the semifinals in good shape, with almost every player available. We want to do better than last year, when we were second in the regular season, but couldn't make it to the Finals. That's our goal for this season. Massimo Barbolini - Scandicci's Head Coach
The semifinals will feature four extremely competitive teams. Scandicci have been playing more aggressively now and their game has grown a lot. They've always been a great team, so it's going to be a big challenge for us. We'll need to serve well and be patient because we believe it's going to be a long series. Marco Gaspari - Milano's Head Coach

Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano vs. Igor Gorgonzola Novara

The winners of the last five editions of the Italian League, Imoco are looking to make their sixth straight appearance in the Finals. The team of Swedish opposite Isabelle Haak, Polish setter Joanna Wolosz and Italian libero Monica De Gennaro did a great job in the regular season, winning all 26 matches to rank first, and had no trouble knocking Roma Volley Club out in two matches in the quarterfinals.

The fourth-best team in the regular season, Novara needed all three matches to dispatch Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri in the quarterfinals. In order to return to the Finals for the tenth time – and the first since 2020-2021 -, they will need new signing Marina Markova to continue producing at a high level alongside Italian internationals Anna Danesi and Caterina Bosetti.

Imoco have historically had the edge over Novara, prevailing in 35 of the 45 duels between the teams over the years. The Panthers topped their rivals in the semifinals of both the Italian League and the Coppa Italia last season and are undefeated against them in their last eight encounters.

The semifinals have the four teams that people expected to make it here. The playoffs are always very competitive and these will be very fun and exciting series given the quality of the teams involved. We expect a tough series against a talented Novara team that recently found its balance. They're strong offensively and pass and serve well. We never played them with Markova in the squad and they're a different team now. Daniele Santarelli - Imoco's Head Coach