Italian Serie A side Savino del Bene Scandicci has signed a pile of new talents and convinced their biggest star to return for the 2018-2019 season.
The team’s first big move in the off-season was the extension for next season of 18-year old Swedish opposite Isabelle Haak. The 6’4″ Haak, in spite of her young age, led the Italian league in scoring last season with 491 points in 22 matches (Paola Egonu was 2nd at 454). Haak was also named the regular season MVP of the league by a wide margin.
In a release from the team announcing her re-signing, Haak said that she felt the team was “a very ambitious program that wants to win,” and that she wants to win with Scandicci. The team’s latest moves indicate a commitment to the same.
Among the biggest additions is 22-year old setter Ofelia Malinov of Italy
Last year, American first-year pro Lauren Carlini set the team to 2nd-place in the Serie A regular season table and the championship semi-final. She’s left to sign with Igor Volley Novara further north in Italy. Malinov, the starting setter for the Italian National Team, is even younger than Carlini, and gives the team the opportunity to attract international-caliber domestic hitters who might want to develop alongside their setter. She comes from a year at Volley Bergamo, and has played with a different side in Italy in each of her 4 professional seasons.
The team, returning their center-piece in Haak, has reshaped the lineup around her, especially at the middle blocker position where they’ve brought in a pair of bona-fied internationals: Adenizia da Silva and Jovana Stevanovic.
Other major additions announced so far by Scandicci:
- American second-year pro Annie Mitchem, formerly of the University of Hawaii, will join the team next season. She scored 322 points in just 77 sets for Lardini Filottrano last year in her first season as an outside/middle hitter. Mitchem is 6’3″ (190cm) tall.
- Brazilian National Team middle blocker Adenizia da Silva joins the team after her first season in Italy last year. She was on the Brazilian team that won gold at the 2012 Olympic Games, and was named the Best Middle Blocker of the 2015 Pan American Games.
- Serbian 25-year old middle blocker Jovana Stevanovic joins da Silva at the middle blocker position. She stands 6’4″ tall and was on the Serbian team that won the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
- 19-year old, 6′ middle blocker Alessia Mazzaro also joins the team from Lardini Filottrano. She’s currently a member of the Italian U-20 National Team.
- Valentina Zago returns to the team after spending last year with Casalmaggiore. She is a sometimes-national team player and scored 58 points in 45 sets last season.
- 174cm tall libero Veronica Bisconti joins the team after spending last season with Piacenza, a year after playing in Serie A2.
- Re-signed for next season: Isabelle Haak, Italian National Team outside hitter Lucia Bosetti, veteran outside hitter Valeria Papa