American middle blocker Hannah Tapp will play with Volley Bergamo next season, transferring there after half-a-season with nearby Firenze in Italy’s top-flight league. Tapp signed with Il Bisonte last fall, after completing her final year of eligibility at the University of Minnesota.
Her first season of professional volleyball was ended early in January when she suffered a patellar tendon tear in January. She returned to the USA and underwent surgery and rehab on the injured knee.
Tapp and her twin sister Paige were both members of USA Volleyball’s 14-player roster for last year’s FIVB World Grand Prix, where the Americans finished in 5th place. Paige was selected for the Americans’ initial 14-player roster again this year, but Hannah wasn’t included on the preliminary 25-player roster, presumably because she is still rehabbing the knee. Hannah started a few matches early in the tournament, but later in the summer served mostly in a reserve role for the Americans, recording 6 kills, 2 blocks, and 5 aces in the tournament
When she returns to Italy for the 2018-2019 season, she will move about200 miles north in Italy, from Florence to Bergamo, a dense urban area about 25 miles from Milan with 500,000 residents in the foothills of the Alps.
In 47 sets played in her first professional season across 13 matches, Tapp scored 120 points, including 29 blocks. In spite of her truncated schedule, she still ranked 20th in the league among middle blockers in scoring. Her 2.55 points/set places her among the best in the league, and is a higher rate than other American national teamers in the league like Lauren Gibbemeyer (2.06 points/set) and Tori Dixon (2.45 points/set).
Finishing their season without Tapp, Firenze finished the season just 8th out of 12 teams in Serie A last season. Bergamo finished the 10th out of 12 teams, winning just 7 of their 22 matches.
Shortly after Tapp’s departure, Firenze added another recent college graduate, former Texas Longhorn Chiaka Ogbogu, for the end of the season as her replacement.
So far this offseason, Firenze has been active in rebuilding their roster to be more competitive for their 5th season in Serie A after winning A2 in 2014. While they did lose the services of Tapp, they’ve brought in a number of international stars, including German 23-year old Louisa Lippmann, who will plays on her country’s National Team. The 6’3″ (1.91m) spiker, Lippmann has been a member of the German senior National Team since she was 18 years old. At last year’s Montreux Volley Masters, she led Germany in scoring in every match en route to a silver medal, her first senior national team award. That included a 31-point breakout game against Thailand in pool play and 15 points in a losing effort to Brazil in the championship.
Il Bisonte has also signed
- Serbian 23-year old middle blocker Mina Popovic, who was also being courted by Fenerbahce;
- another former Minnesota Golden Gopher, Puerto Rican 23-year old outside hitter Daly Santana, who has signed for 2 seasons;
- 19-year old Dutch national team outside hitter Nika Daalerop who played on the Netherlands’ silver-medal winning team at last year’s European Championships when she was just 18;
- 22-year old Italian Alice Degradi, who has been on Italian National Teams in every age group including this summer their senior National Team for their first time. Degradi made her Seire A debut at just 15-years old. Degradi will wear Tapp’s old #7.
Beatrice Parochial and Laura Dijkema have also re-signed with the team. So too have middle blocker Sara Alberti and Francesca Bonciani, who will be with the club for their 2nd and 3rd seasons, respectively, with the club. Firenze has not yet announced who will be leaving to make way for the new additions, but the shift makes Firenze one of the most exciting young teams in Italy, if not Europe, for the 2018-2019 season.f