Lega Volley Femminile A1 2023 - News.

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Imoco players celebrate their sixth-straight Italian League title (Photo: LVF)

Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano continue to reign supreme in the Lega Pallavolo Femminile Serie A Tigotà as the Panthers secured their sixth straight and seventh overall Italian title on Saturday, when they triumphed in the 2023-2024 edition of the tournament.

The team coached by Daniele Santarelli completed its comeback against Savino Del Bene Scandicci in the Scudetto Finals and brought the best-of-five series to an end with a 3-1 (23-25, 25-17, 25-17, 25-21) victory in the fourth match of the duel, at the Palazzo Wanny, in Firenze.

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Imoco secured the title with a campaign of 33 wins and two losses. They went undefeated in the regular season, prevailing in all 26 matches they played, dispatched Roma Volley Club in two matches in the quarterfinals, topped Igor Gorgonzola Novara 2-1 in the semifinals and handled Scandicci in four matches in the Finals.

With seven titles in 11 appearances in the Italian elite, Imoco are the third most successful team in the history of the tournament, only behind Teodora Pallavollo Ravenna, with 11 titles, and Volley Bergamo, with eight.

The victory further extends Imoco’s domination in the Italian League in the last decade as the Panthers emerged victorious in seven of the last editions of the tournament, lifting the trophy in 2015-2016, 2017-2018, 2018-2019, 2020-2021, 2022-2023 and 2023-2024. The team has also won the last 15 national tournaments held in the country.

In the period, they also claimed seven Italian Supercoppa titles, six Italian Cup trophies, two FIVB Women’s Club World Championship gold medals and one CEV Champions League first-place finish.

Two players from the current squad were present when Imoco won the first of their seven titles, in 2015-2016 – libero Monica De Gennaro, who has been with the team in each of their victories, and outside hitter Kelsey Cook, who left in 2017 and returned in 2022, appearing in three triumphs. Head coach Santarelli has also been with the team from the beginning of their journey, appearing as an assistant in the first title before taking over in 2017-2018.

"From the quarterfinals on, every match was very difficult," said De Gennaro. "We won because we never gave up and we deserved it. We played very well tonight, even in the first set, which we lost at the end. Our blocking and defense became more of a factor in the second set and these are some of our main strengths. We'll celebrate it now, but not for too long because we still have the Champions League final."

Swedish opposite Isabelle Haak, who won two titles in as many seasons with Imoco, was once again the star of the show as the Panthers topped Scandicci in the decisive match – she led all scorers with 29 points (27 kills, two blocks).

The 24-year-old Haak was Imoco’s top scorer in each of the four matches of the Scudetto Finals, producing an impressive 131 points in the series to average nearly 33 per encounter, and was selected as the Finals MVP.

Also reaching double digits in scoring in the fourth match of the series for Imoco were outside hitters Kathryn Plummer (18) and Cook (ten), besides middle blocker Marina Lubian (12).

Scandicci, who appeared in the Finals for the first time in club history and have in the season’s second-place their best finish in the Lega Femminile to date, saw opposite Ekaterina Antropova lead their scoring efforts with 22 points (19 kills, two blocks, one ace).

“Imoco certainly deserve our congratulations because we managed again to play at a very high level,” head coach Massimo Barbolini reflected. “But our girls deserve a lot of credit too. We’re certainly disappointed now because making it to the Finals is very difficult, but we tried everything and unfortunately, they never gave up. Both teams have what to celebrate now.”

Perugia and Talmassons earn promotion

The 14 participants of the 2024-2025 Lega Femminile were also confirmed this week with the conclusion of the promotion matches in the country. Bartoccini Fortinfissi Perugia, who had been relegated in 2022-2023, will be back in the elite alongside first-timers Cda Volley Talmassons.

Lega Femminile - Results

After ranking 14th in this year’s regular season, Itas Trentino will go down in 2024-2025. Honda Olivero S. Bernardo Cuneo, who finished 13th, will remain in the Italian elite after Trasportipesanti Casalmaggiore announced their decision to withdraw from the tournament starting next year.

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Lega Pallavolo Femminile Serie A1 Tigotà
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