Serie A1 December Notebook

For an American volleyball fan, it’s a great time to start following the women’s top Italian League, Serie A1. All but two of the 13 teams in the league have Americans on their rosters, and some of the world’s top players are also competing in Italy this year.

And, you can watch all the matches live right here on FloVolleyball.

The women's league is seven rounds into the 2018-19 season as we head into December, and these are the top stories of the season so far and ones to keep an eye on going forward. 

But first, here’s your cheat sheet for finding teams with Americans on the roster: 

Banca Valsabbina Millenium Brescia: Haleigh Washington

Bosca San Bernardo Cuneo: Aury Cruz (Puerto Rico)

Igor Gorgonzola Novara: Lauren Carlini, Michelle Bartsch

Il Bisonte Firenze: Daly Santana (Puerto Rico)

Imoco Volley Conegliano: Kim Hill

Lardini Filottrano: Courtney Schwan, Aiyana Whitney

Pomi Casalmaggiore: Danielle Cuttino

Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri: Samantha Middleborn

Saugella Team Monza: Rachael Adams, Micha Hancock

Savino Del Bene Scandicci: Regan Hood, Annie Mitchem 

Zanetti Bergamo: Megan Courtney, Hannah Tapp

Undefeated Reigning Champs On Top

Igor Gorgonzola Novara kicked off the new season by winning seven matches in a row, losing just four total sets along the way. Not only does Novara’s 2018-19 roster include the world’s top opposite, 19-year-old Italian Paola Egonu, but it also features Dutch national team outside Celeste Plak, and USA national teamers Lauren Carlini and Michelle Bartsch. 

Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio Close Behind

Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio is also undefeated, having won all six of its matches so far this season; however, it has not yet played Novara, Conegliano, Casalmaggiore, or Scandicci, the other top-ranked teams in the league.

Complete Standings, as of Dec. 1

  1. Igor Gorgonzola Novara 7-0

  2. Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio 6-0

  3. Imoco Volley Conegliano 5-1

  4. Pomi Casalmaggiore 5-2

  5. Savino Del Bene Scandicci 5-1

  6. Saugella Team Monza 3-4

  7. Banca Valsabbina Millenium Brescia 3-3

  8. Il Bisonte Firenze 3-4

  9. Zanetti Bergamo 2-5

  10. Bosca San Bernardo Cuneo 2-4

  11. Lardini Filottrano 1-5

  12. Club Italia Crai 0-6

  13. Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri 0-7

Egonu Continues to Impress

Paola Egonu has been playing professional volleyball since she was 14 and first joined for the Italian senior national team at age 17. She started every match for Italy at the Olympics and led the team to a silver medal at the 2018 FIVB Women’s World Championship. 

Back in action for Novara, the 19-year-old has been dominant, even collecting 25 points in the match versus Imoco Conegliano. 

Megan Easy Suffers Season-Ending Injury

Almost exactly a year since a tear of her left achilles tendon ended the 2017-18 season for former Penn State Nittany Lion Megan Easy, she tore her right achilles in a match between her professional team, Imoco Conegliano, and Cheri. 

Megan Courtney Back on the Left

Megan Courtney, who suffered an ACL tear in September 2017, traveled with the U.S. Women’s National Team as a libero during World Champs, but now that she’s joined her new professional team Zanetti Bergamo, the former Penn State outside and Most Outstanding Player of the 2014 NCAA tournament is finally hitting again. And she’s hitting well, ranking as the leading scorer in Bergamo’s matches versus Novara and Casalmaggiore.

Non-Americans Worth Watching

Maybe at first you only tune into an Italian league match to see your favorite former NCAA stars in action, but we bet you’ll fall in love with these non-American athletes currently at the top of their games.

Robin De Kruijf (Netherlands), Novara

Paola Egonu (Italy), Novara

Isabelle Haak (Sweden), Scandicci

Louisa Lippmann (Germany), Firenze

Celeste Plak (Netherlands), Novara

Polina Rahimova (Azerbaijan), Casalmaggiore 

Italian Teams in Champions League

Three Serie A1 teams made it to the group stage of the 2018-19 CEV Champions League. 

Novara swept its Polish opponent Budowlani Lodz in the first leg of Pool C action, with Egonu terminating 19 points and Michelle Bartsch-Hackley adding 11.

In Pool D, 33 points from 19-year-old Scandicci’s Isabelle Haak wasn’t enough for her team to defeat Conegliano. Haak’s 28 kills, three aces, and two blocks added up to make her the top scorer of the round, but Conegliano won the match in five, benefitting from 23 points from Croatian Samanta Fabris and 20 from American Kim Hill.

Biggest Upcoming Matches

Click here to see the full schedule of matches. 

December 2, 10 AM CT | Cuneo vs. Firenze 

Puerto Rico national teamer Daly Santana and Aury Cruz line up on opposite sides of the net in this match, with former Florida Gator Cruz on the roster of Cuneo and former Minnesota Gopher Santana with Firenze. 

Dec. 2, 10 AM CT | Casalmaggiore vs. Brescia

It was just a year ago that Purdue’s Danielle Cuttino and Penn State’s Haleigh Washington faced off as member of opposing Big Ten teams. In this match, they’ll meet again, this time as professionals.

Dec. 9, 10 AM CT | Scandicci vs. Conegliano 

As noted above, Scandicci and Conegliano matched up in the Champions League tournament, but the two teams will have another opportunity to play each other this month in Serie A1, perhaps offering Scandicci an opportunity for redemption.

Dec. 16, 10 AM CT | Monza vs. Brescia

Monza’s pair of Americans, setter Micha Hancock and middle Rachael Adams, spent all summer playing together in the USA gym, so look for them to be a dynamic duo in this match between two teams very close in the league standings.

Dec. 23, 10 AM CT | Busto Arsizio vs. Novara 

The only two teams currently boasting undefeated records are scheduled to face off two days before Christmas and it’s a match you won’t want to miss. 

VakifBank Istanbul Wins Third World Title

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Minas Tenis Clube vs VakifBank Istanbul | 2018 FIVB

Both Turkish teams competing in the gold- and bronze-medal matches at the 2018 FIVB Women’s Club World Championships celebrated victory on Sunday. Now-three-time world champ VakifBank Istanbul defeated Minas Tenis Clube of Brazil in the championship match, and Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul swept Praia Clube to take third.

Minas Tenis Clube, VakifBank Istanbul Headed For Gold Medal Match

With clutch semifinal victories, Minas Tenis Clube and VakifBank Istanbul are heading to the gold-medal match of the 2018 FIVB Women’s Club World Championships. 

Turkish Squads Lead Charge Into Club Worlds Semis

Eczacibasi VirtA Istanbul and VakifBank Istanbul went undefeated in the group stage of the 2018 FIVB Women’s Club World Championships to win their respective pools and advance to the semifinals. 

Get To Know The 2018 UA All-American Setters

Having a skilled setter at the controls can elevate a good team to greatness. Conversely, even a team stacked with great hitters will struggle if they don't have a good setter. 

Get To Know The 2018 UA All-American Middle Blockers

Often the most physically imposing player on the court, middle blockers also have to be quick-thinking and agile. 

FIVB Women's Club World Championship Preview

If you thought your chance to watch elite women’s professional volleyball ended for the year when Serbia won the 2018 FIVB Women’s World Championship, think again. 

Trentino Wins Fifth FIVB World Club Gold Medal

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Cucine Lube vs. Trentino Volley

Heading into Sunday’s FIVB Men’s Club World Championship Final in Czestochowa, Poland, Trentino Volley of the Italian SuperLega was already the most decorated team in the history of the event. 

Cucine Lube Civitanova, Diatecx Trentino To Meet In Finals

Cucine Lube Civitanova and Diatecx Trentino Volleyball will meet in the gold medal match of the 2018 FIVB Men’s Club World Championship, making a loud statement about the dominance of Italy’s SuperLega. 

Semifinalists Determined, Reigning Champ Gone At World Club Championships

Before the final day of pool play competition even began, the semifinalists of the 2018 FIVB Club World Championship had already been determined, and, in an unexpected turn of events, reigning Russian, European, and World Champ Zenit Kazan was not in the quartet of teams moving on to the next round.