Champions League, Igor’s home debut is a success

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Igor Gorgonzola NOVARA claimed on Wednesday night their first victory in the 2016 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Women as they edged Slovenia’s rookies Calcit LJUBLJANA 3:0 (25-21, 25-12, 25-19) to make a first step forward on their way to the Playoffs of Europe’s finest competition.

At their second attempt after losing two weeks ago to Turkey’s giants VakifBank ISTANBUL, Igor Gorgonzola NOVARA claimed their first success in the 2016 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League. Samanta Fabris was the top scorer of the game with 14 points, while the young Italian middle blocker Sara Bonifacio had the most impressive performance in attack, with a success rate standing at 60%. A good performance was also delivered by the Slovenian middle blocker Tina Grudina, who scored seven points with 55% of attack efficiency.

The first set was the tightest and most spectacular of the game: NOVARA took immediately the lead with Samanta Fabris scoring repeatedly (8:5) but the Slovenian team played hard to come back and their gap at the second technical timeout was only one point, 16:15. Fabris and Bonifacio made the difference in the last part of the opening set and Igor sealed the deal at 25-21.

After that, everything was easier for NOVARA: the ‘Blue Girls’ won also the second (25-12) and third set (25-19), which made the Italian mentor Luciano Pedullà quite satisfied: “I am glad that we could get a three-point victory,” he said, “however I am not 100% satisfied about the quality of our game. I think that we must work hard and improve a lot if we want to conquer a spot in the Playoff phase”.

A little bit of disappointment was felt in Gasper Ribic’s words: “We played a good first set,” admitted the Slovenian coach, “but after that we just didn’t do anything more to be able to compete with NOVARA. Now we look forward to our game with VakifBank: we know it will be very hard but we are very determined to do our best to try and get better results than in the first two games we have contested so far.”

“We wanted a victory and we are happy that we could achieve it in just three sets,” said NOVARA’s middle blocker Sara Bonifacio. “It is a very important result for our European campaign, especially after we lost the first match in Istanbul. I am very happy with my performance, at first I was very emotional playing for the first time in the Champions League, but step by step I got into match and I scored some important points.”

Calcit LJUBLJANA’s captain, Petra Vrhovnik, congratulated her opponents: “We knew that NOVARA is really a strong team and we want to congratulate them for their good performance. We gave everything in the first set and then we were just not good enough to come back and win at least one set. Our home match with VakifBank will be a big party for our club and for Slovenian Volleyball: we play one of the world’s top teams but we will do our best to be successful.”