On Saturday, the two most successful Italian clubs of recent years, Prosecco Doc Imoco Volley Conegliano and Igor Gorgonzola Novara, will meet in the Italian Supercoppa for the first trophy of the 2022-2023 club season.
At 20:30 local time, the two sides who have dominated the Italian national stage for the last five seasons will square off in Florence’s brand new Palazzo Wanny (19:30 GMT).
This Saturday’s meeting will be the 13th gold medal contest between the two Italian powerhouses since 2017. Conegliano and Novara have played each other in the Italian Cup final four of the previous five years, in the Italian League playoff three of the last four years, in four of the last five Italian Supercoppa finals, and once in the CEV Champions League final.
In those matchups, Conegliano has fared better, emerging victorious eight times out of a possible 12. In addition, the current Italian champions have won 14 of the previous 15 meetings between the two teams, with Novara’s lone win coming in the last season of the Italian League in March 2022. Conegliano defeated Novara 3-0 in their most recent meeting two weeks ago in the Italian League.
Both teams have made big squad changes in preparation for the 2022-2023 club season, thus history won’t matter when they face off in the Italian Supercoppa.
Conegliano, champions of the past four Supercoppa tournaments, has lost many significant players, including star opposite Paola Egonu, Italian national team captain and outside hitter Myriam Sylla, experienced middle blocker Raphaela Folie, and American outside hitter Megan Courtney.
READ MORE : Kalei Mau wants to improve during the next PVL season
Setter Joanna Wolosz, outside hitter Kathryn Plummer, middle blocker Robin De Kruijf, and libero Monica De Gennaro all returned, and the club went out of its way to give world champion head coach Daniele Santarelli a strong roster to work with by adding the Swedish opposite Isabelle Haak, outside hitters Kelsey Robinson, Alexa Gray, and Alessa Gennari, and middle blockers Marina Lubian and Federica Squarcini.
The Panthers are undefeated through their first nine games of the season, putting them atop the rankings in the Italian League.
The offseason was also busy for the 2017 Supercoppa champions Novara, who saw their Olympic champion setter Micha Hancock, Olympic medalist opposite Rosamaria Montibeller of Brazil, high-scoring outside hitters Britt Herbots and Nika Daalderop, and Olympic champion middle blocker Haleigh Washington of the United States all leave the club.
The club brought in American setter Jordyn Poulter, Australian outside hitters McKenzie Adams and Kenia Carcaces, and Italian middle blocker Anna Danesi to make up for the losses. To prepare for the 2022-2023 season, head coach Stefano Lavarini made some changes, although he was still able to count on Turkish star opposite Ebrar Karakurt and Italian national team veterans Caterina Bosetti, Cristina Chirichella, and Eleonora Fersino.
While Novara’s start has been a little erratic, with the squad losing back-to-back matches earlier this month in the Italian League, the team has since won two straight to climb back up to second place in the rankings in advance of the Supercoppa.