The first semifinalists in Italy’s Lega Pallavolo vivo Serie A1 Femminile could emerge as the second matches of the best-of-three quarterfinal playoffs are played on Tuesday and Wednesday. These fixtures will take place at the venues of the lower ranked teams, all of whom lost their first games over the weekend. They will refuse to step back just yet, however, and will be eager to use the home-court advantage to tie their series pushing them to third-match deciders.
Italian Lega quarterfinals: No one ready to surrender just yet!
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Опубликовано 11:50, 12 Apr 2022
The second leg of the quarterfinals will open at 20.30 local time on Tuesday with Bosca S.Bernardo Cuneo hosting Igor Gorgonzola Novara. The other three encounters – Unet e-work Busto Arsizio v Savino Del Bene Scandicci, Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri v Vero Volley Monza, and Il Bisonte Firenze v Prosecco Doc Imoco Volley Conegliano – are scheduled at the same time on Wednesday.
TUESDAY: Bosca S.Bernardo Cuneo v. Igor Gorgonzola Novara at 20.30 CET / 18.30 GMT
Novara, who came into the playoffs as the regular season runners-up, lived up to expectations and produced an emphatic shutout of seventh-placed Cuneo on Saturday, with Turkish star Ebrar Karakurt leading the way in scoring. Their role of favourites in this match-up is confirmed by the 10-1 head-to-head record between the two teams, with the only time Cuneo ever defeated Novara occurring over three years ago. However, with nothing to lose, captain Noemi Signorile and her teammates are keen to leave no stone unturned at Cuneo’s Palazzo Dello Sport on Tuesday evening in order to stay in contention for the semifinals.
“On Saturday we were careful from a tactical point of view, but we didn't have the courage to take risks. To be competitive against a team superior in terms of experience, physicality and technique, a bit of unscrupulousness will be needed. To narrow the gap, you need to have something more in terms of mentality. Our team has shown that we have character and a certain predisposition not to give up. I hope the girls will find the energy to stay in the series.” Andrea Pistola, head coach of Bosca S.Bernardo Cuneo
“On Saturday we played a good game. Now, however, what happened does not matter. We are aware that another complicated and hard-fought match will be waiting for us. The beauty of the playoffs is that each game actually has a story of its own. Although Cuneo have the advantage of playing at home, we will put in the same enthusiasm and determination as we did in game one, aiming for a positive result.” Eleonora Fersino, libero of Igor Gorgonzola Novara
WEDNESDAY: Three matches at 20.30 CET / 18.30 GMT
Fifth-placed Busto Arsizio were just below fourth-placed Scandicci in the final regular season standings. The two teams were evenly matched only in the second set of their encounter on Sunday, however, which Busto Arsizio lost 28-26. Experienced players like Lucia Bosetti, Jovana Stevanovic or Alexa Gray are not the kind that will give up without a fight, however. And when talented international playmaker Ofelia Malinov and her teammates travel to the e-work Arena, which will be open to its full capacity, the Butterflies will be able to count on the support of their fans as they attempt to stay alive in the series.
“We will have to give our all to reopen the series. It will not be easy, but we’ll start again from what was good in that second set of the first game, trying to attack from the first minute, and with the help of our fans. The charge of our audience will be the extra weapon we will use on the court.” Camilla Mingardi, opposite of Unet e-work Busto Arsizio
“We are 1-0, but we are aware that a much more difficult challenge awaits us in game two and we know that in Busto Arsizio we will have to do a little more.” Massimo Barbolini, head coach of Savino Del Bene Scandicci
The lowest ranked participant in the quarterfinals, Firenze handed regular season winners Imoco a little surprise by snatching a 1-0 lead as they visited Conegliano on Saturday. In fact, they were the only losing side that did not return from their first-leg trip empty-handed. If anything, that one set won could serve as inspiration for something more as the series moves to Florence on Wednesday. It will be the 24th encounter between these two clubs, and Firenze will try to achieve their fifth win, after the fourth came some four months ago in Conegliano, when Firenze upset Imoco with a shocking five-set victory which put an end to a 720-day-long world-record streak of 76 back-to-back wins. It is never easy against Joanna Wolosz, Paola Egonu and the rest of Imoco’s stellar line-up, but Yvon Belien, Sylvia Nwakalor and their teammates are ready to push to the limit in their fight for survival.
“We analyzed the first match and we found many positive aspects of what we did there. We are happy to have stood up to Conegliano. Now we will look for something more and different to play even better, knowing that the obstacle we have in front of us is very high, but with the desire to still show a beautiful and determined Il Bisonte. We'll see on the court if we can do what we set out to do.” Massimo Belano, head coach of Il Bisonte Firenze
Just like all the other first-leg losers, Chieri are not ready to surrender just yet. They lost their away quarterfinal to Monza in straight sets, but as they welcome Vero Volley back on Wednesday, they remain determined to repeat their feat of a year ago. In the 2021 quarterfinals against the same opponent, Chieri were also shut out in Monza, but squeezed out a tie-breaker victory in the second match at home to extend the series to three.
“We are eager to enter the court and demonstrate a different attitude. It is a match that does not give second chances: you win now or never again this season. Monza are a very strong team, one of the contenders for the title, and with the arrival of Jordan Larson, they have gained even more in experience, quality, solutions... It is not easy to put such a team in difficulty, so you also need the energy to play a game of sacrifice.” Giulio Cesare Bregoli, head coach of Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri