Lega Volley Femminile A1 2023 - News.

Scandicci 1004

Scandicci players celebrate their historic qualification for the Italian League Finals (Photo: LVF)

After nine seasons competing in the Lega Pallavolo Femminile Serie A Tigotà, Savino Del Bene Scandicci will finally appear in the tournament’s Finals as the team from Firenze topped Allianz Vero Volley Milano for the second time in five days on Wednesday to win the best-of-three semifinal series between them.

The second leg of the semifinals also had defending champions Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano seeing their 45-match winning streak come to an end. They fell on the road to Igor Gorgonzola Novara after 29 consecutive wins in the 2023-2024 Italian League and now the series is tied 1-1, with the third and decisive match set to be played over the weekend.

  • Watch Lega Pallavolo Femminile Serie A1 matches live on VBTV.

After stopping in the semifinals in the last four seasons, Scandicci were finally able to take the next step forward and will play for the Italian title in 2023-2024. The second-best team in the regular season, they went on the road on Wednesday and repeated the result of Saturday’s first-leg match, downing Milano 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-21) at the Allianz Cloud to bring the series to an end.

Ekaterina Antropova and Zhu Ting led Scandicci’s offense on the road, playing major roles in the team’s huge win over Milano. The 21-year-old Italian national team opposite stepped up to produce 18 points (14 kills, two aces, two blocks), while the Chinese superstar, who recently announced she’ll be back with her country’s national team in the Volleyball Nations League 2024 in just over a month, contributed another 15, with 13 kills and two aces.

“We’re so satisfied,” commented head coach Massimo Barbolini. “Milano are a great team, we knew it wasn’t going to be easy to overcome them and we did it without dropping a single set. We were down in two sets today, but the players remained patient and focused on what we had to do. We deserve to be in the final and I’m happy for the club. We’ve been investing a lot and making huge sacrifices, but it felt like we were always one step away from it.”

Milano’s superstar opposite Paola Egonu matched Antropova’s production with 18 points (17 kills, one block) of her own, but after her, middle blocker Raphaela Folie, with ten (six kills, four blocks), was the team’s most productive player.

While Scandicci are guaranteed their best-ever Lega Femminile finish with their first appearance in the Scudetto Finals, Milano won’t play in the tournament’s decisive series this season after doing so in their last two campaigns.

Lega Femminile - Match Schedule and Results

Novara take Imoco down

In the other series, Imoco could book their tickets to their sixth-straight appearance in the Finals, but instead saw Novara step up in front of their home fans at the Pala Igor Gorgonzola and tie the series with a dramatic 3-2 (25-17, 25-23, 17-25, 14-25, 15-12) victory.

Besides leveling the ground ahead of this weekend’s decisive encounter, Novara’s triumph also ended a long winning streak by Imoco, who had prevailed in their last 45 matches across all competitions, remaining undefeated for 335 days. It was also the first victory by Novara against their opponents after nine consecutive upsets – their last triumph had happened 769 days ago.

Russian opposite Marina Markova was pivotal for Novara’s upset. A mid-season signing, the 23-year-old player produced a match-high 26 points, with 22 kills, three aces and one block. Outside hitter Gréta Szakmáry was the only other Novara player to score in double digits, with 12 points (nine kills, three blocks).

“I’m so proud of what we did tonight,” Szakmáry reacted. “We struggled from the start to finish in the first match and today we were determined to show that we’re not that team. I see the same fire in our eyes that we had when we reversed the series against Chieri in the quarterfinals. We know Imoco are very strong and that they hadn’t lost in almost a year, but we want to prolong our adventure in the playoffs.”

Isabelle Haak and Kathryn Plummer were Imoco’s main offensive weapons in the match. The Swedish star opposite registered 25 points (22 kills, two aces, one block), while the American outside hitter delivered 21, with 16 kills, three blocks and two aces – her compatriot Kelsey Cook also got to double digits with 12.

Match three will be held in Villorba, on Saturday, at 20:30 local time (19:30 GMT).

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Lega Pallavolo Femminile Serie A1 Tigotà
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