Paola Egonu hammered out a fantastic 41 points in Saturday’s Super Final of the women’s CEV Champions League Volley to drive Italy’s A. Carraro Imoco Conegliano to their first ever European title.
The reigning club world champions, who are also holders of the national title, the national cup and the national super cup of Italy, are now continental champions as well after persevering through a five-set drama in Verona on Saturday to claim a 3-2 (22-25, 25-22, 23-25, 25-23, 15-12) victory over Turkish giant VakifBank Istanbul and stay unbeaten over a series of 64 consecutive matches in all competitions.
The formidable 22-year-old star opposite of Imoco and the Italian national team put away the match high of 41 points, including the tie-breaker winner. Egonu made as many as 71 attempts in attack to strike success 55% of the time. Her tally included an ace and a block.
In addition to being a fierce battle between arguably the two strongest teams in the world, the final turned into a point-making race between the young, but outstanding opposites on the two sides of the net. VakifBank’s striker Isabelle Haak, a 21-year-old Swedish international, kept pace with Egonu, but in the end trailed back to tally “only” 33 points to her name, as the Italian star delivered 10 of Imoco’s 15 points in the tie-breaker alone.
Dutch international middle Robin De Kruijf (11 points) was the best blocker of the match on five stuffs, as she and American outside McKenzie Adams (10 points), who entered the match as a substitution during the second set, were the other two Imoco players to reach the double digits. Polish setter Joanna Wolosz showed her attacking prowess by scoring all four of her spiking attempts.
Brazilian star Gabriela Guimaraes, a 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League Dream Teamer, was VakifBank’s second best scorer on 14 points, followed by VNL 2018 MVP Michelle Bartsch-Hackley of USA on 13, and Turkish middle Zehra Gunes on 11.
Imoco finished Champions League runners-up in 2017 and 2019 and took bronze in 2018. Their fourth consecutive time on the podium was the first on the very top of it, while VakifBank failed to become the first team to win five Champions League trophies.
Main photo: Imoco’s players and staff triumphant as European champions (source: cev.eu)
For more information, visit the official Super Finals website.
Previous article about the Champions League:
Trentino looking to regain former Champions League glory
FIVB Volleyball Nations League
Olympic Games Tokyo 2020