Novara winning the Champions League
Congratulations to Michelle Bartsch (collaboration with SportsNet International) and Novara for winning the Champions League
Berlin, Germany, May 18, 2019. For the first time in their club’s history Igor Gorgonzola NOVARA can name themselves ‘queens of Europe’! In front of a sold-out Max-Schmeling-Halle at the CEV Champions League Volley 2019 Super Finals with 9,046 spectators, the Italian vice-champions took revenge for the lost national championship against Imoco Volley CONEGLIANO twelve days ago and won 3-1 (25-18, 25-17, 14-25, 25-22). The third all-Italian Champions League final on the women’s side was an outstanding one earning the name ‘Super Final” in every kind of way and having an Italian champion for the ninth time.
• It was the first time since 2005 that the gold medal match of the CEV Champions League – Women featured two teams from the same country and the domestic rivalry of NOVARA and CONEGLIANO also electrised the German ‘Volleyball temple’.
• After having a terrific start (9-1) NOVARA was in the mood and won the first set by 25-18 in a clear way.
• With a brilliant performance by Paola Egonu, Igor Gorgonzola was on top in the second set as well. 17 points by the 20-year-old opposite in the first two sets helped the Italian vice-champions towards a 2-0 lead (25-17).
• The ‘Panthers’ of CONEGLIANO managed to come back in the third (25-14) but were not able to deal with the attacking power of NOVARA in the fourth (22-25).
• The girls in blue could celebrate and Francesca Piccinini, the 40-year-old team captain of NOVARA, has now as many as six (!) titles from Europe’s elite competition to her name, seven if you add to the count a triumph in the now defunct Champions Cup.
• In 2015/16 (CASALMAGGIORE) Europe saw the last Italian champion on the women’s side. However, with NOVARA as the eleventh team earning the trophy, the new era of the Super Finals starts with a new champion.
• As the winners of the first Super Finals in Berlin, NOVARA cashes € 400,000 – a record purse in European Volleyball history.
• The ’Panthers’ of Imoco Volley leave Berlin with a silver medal and a prize money of € 200,000 and have all reasons to be proud of reaching the final for the second time in their club’s history.
Francesca Piccinini, team captain of Igor Gorgonzola NOVARA: “I feel extremely emotional. I wanted this title so bad and despite knowing it was going to be difficult, I believed in our chances. I have to congratulate all of my teammates because they all worked extremely hard and they played really well. This is especially true for Egonu, who is half my age, but despite being so young, she truly is a phenomenon.”
Michelle Bartsch-Hackley, outside hitter of Igor Gorgonzola NOVARA: “It has been a lot of work. They really kicked our butts in the Italian Championship. We worked extremely hard after that and I am just very proud of the team. They played extremely strong in the third set and I think if you have two really good teams, it is always going to happen. However, we were really con- fident and our mindset was to just keep pushing.”
Joanna Wolosz, captain of Imoco Volley CONEGLIANO: “What happened? We simply played poorly and we only started the way we can from the third set. I do not know what happened earlier, whether it were our nerves, I cannot explain it. We have lost a big chance to win the Champions League title this year. Congratulations to Novara, they have proved they are really strong. Bravo to them because they played a great game today.”