The Panthers came from behind to defeat Novara in four sets (Photo: Rubin/LVF)

The 2021-2022 Italian club season started in great fashion on Saturday as giants Imoco Volley Conegliano stepped on to the top of the podium of the country’s Women’s Supercoppa for a fourth-straight time after they defeated rivals Igor Gorgonzola Novara at the Pala Panini, in Modena.

The 2019 FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship winners rebounded from a first-set loss to extend their supremacy in the season-opening tournament with a 3-1 (23-25, 29-27, 25-15, 26-26) triumph over Novara, who were the only team to beat Conegliano in the Supercoppa over the last five seasons when they took the title in 2017-2018.

In a match that featured international stars from as many as nine national teams, Megan Courtney and Paola Egonu were the ones to shine the brightest in Modena. The 27-year-old American outside hitter scored 14 points (12 kills, two blocks), including the game-winner, to be awarded as the match’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) while the Italian star opposite produced a match-high 24 points (21 kills, two blocks, one ace).

The victory reinforced Conegliano’s supremacy in Italy as the Panthers have now won their last 65 matches in the country and lost just once in their most recent 82 games, in the 2018-2019 Italian Cup Final, in February 2019.

“It was a good match to start the season,” Conegliano head coach Daniele Santarelli said. “It wasn’t perfect, which is normal so early in the season as both teams have just started training. We had a few absences and I’m very happy we still managed to win. We knew it would be a difficult match because Novara has a great team, with a lot of alternatives, but also because we’re still very far from our best level. It was great seeing fans at the stands again as well.”

Novara couldn’t keep their impressive first-set level through the entire match and had to settle for silver for the fourth time since 2015-2016 despite great performances from Turkish opposite Ebrar Karakurt and Dutch Nika Daalderop, who delivered 17 points each.

“We’re disappointed with the result, especially considering the way the match progressed and that we feel like we lacked clarity in the most important moments,” Novara’s libero Eleonara Fersino reacted. “Congratulations to Conegliano for their victory, but I believe we can be proud of our performance too, especially considering the season is just starting and we have a lot of room to improve. Now we need to bring the same fire we had going into this match back on Monday as we finish our preparation for the season.”


Two of the best opposites in the world, Karakurt and Egonu battled in the Supercoppa (Photo: Rubin/LVF)

Both teams debut in the 2021-2022 Italian League on October 10, when three-time defending champions Conegliano face Megabox Ondulati Del Savio Vallefoglia and Novara meet Il Bisonte Firenze.

All matches of the 2021-2022 Italian League season will be streamed live on