The first trophy of the 2017-2018 women’s Italian league has been awarded, as Igor Gorgonzola Novara beat Imoco Volley Conegliano 3-2 in an instant classic.
- Final Score: Igor Gorgonzola Novara – Imoco Volley Conegliano 3-2 (25-19, 25-27, 22-25, 25-23, 16-14)
Imoco Volley was playing without Megan Easy, who suffered a season-ending Achilles tendon injury last week.
For Novara, young opposite Paola Egonu, the breakout star of the summer international season, has carried that success into Serie A play. She’s the leading scorer in Serie A so far (77 in just 3 games), and again went big with 22 points in Thursday’s championship. Her teammate Celeste Plak, of the Dutch team, actually led all players with 26 points.
“It was a tough match, with some highs and lows, played between two teams that gave everything all the way to the end,” said Plak. “Winning at home is always wonderful, dionng so with that final comeback in the t-ebreak gives a crazy satisfaction. Now we head back to the championship, we will soon be in the Champions League, but meanwhile we have achieved an important result.”
But both were upstaged by outside hitter Stephanie Enright, who was named MVP of the tournament even with just 13 points in the final. With a 15-14 lead in the 5th set, Enright scored the winning kill of the match.
The top scorer for the losing Conegliano side was Samantha Bricio with 18.
“It’s a shame, we needed maybe a bit more clarity and intensity at the decisive moment,” said Daniele Santarelli – the coach of Conegliano. “But we have awareness of our strength, it was a great match and I’m glad the girls have shown what they are made of. Let’s not forget that we’ve played 6 games in 18 days and that we had some injuries too. The girls would have deserved the victory, and I wanted to dedicate it to Megan Easy, but unfortunately we did not do it. There remains regret of the 4th set, in which we were ahead so many points and we made so many mistakes.”
Holding a 2-1 lead in that 4th set, Conegliano went up as much as 16-11 (and again at 19-15), but a late run gave Novara the set.
Again, Conegliano had an opportunity late, with two match points, but Novara again fought back to take a two-point win in the tie-breaker, and seal their first-ever title in this tournament. Perhaps that fatigue from a tough schedule, brought up by Santarelli, caught up to them late, and it was too much to overcome.
Watch the full replay of the match here:
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