Belgium's Kaja Grobelna was MVP of the match Thursday night as she led Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri to a nail-biting 3-2 (25-23, 19-25, 25-20, 17-25, 15-11) win at home over Saugella Monza that ties their best-of-three quarterfinal series of the Italian Women's League Playoffs at 1-1 and forces a decider.
It is the only of the quarterfinal series that extends to a third match, after defending champions Imoco Volley Conegliano, Savino de Bene Scandicci and Igor Gorgonzola Novara wrapped it all up after two games and secured their places in the semifinals.
Grobelna, who is expected to lead Belgium in the upcoming FIVB Volleyball Nations League next month, scored 19 points against Monza - as many as her Belgium teammate Lise Van Hecke brought home for the vistors. Alexandra Franti, with 22 points for Chieri was top scorer of the game.
At Scandicci, meanwhile, Poland's Magdalena Stysiak top-scored once again with 26 points as the home side outlasted Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio 3-2 (22-25, 25-21, 25-22, 22-25, 15-7) - but it was Bulgaria's Elitsa Vasileva that picked up the MVP of the match award thanks to some solid receiving and a scoring performance of 16 points. Canada's Alexa Gray scored 24 points Busto.
Novara had an easier task in the midweek action, dealing with Bartocccini Fortinifissi Perugia 3-1 (25-22, 25-13, 20-25, 25-22) on the road at the BalaBarton, with Poland's Malwina Smarzek scoring 16 points including two aces and three blocks. The 24-year-old opposite shared the top scoring honours with Cuba's Kenia Carcares.
Caterina Bosetti's precise receiving earned her the MVP of the match award.
And Conegliano wrapped up their own series in straight matches, after a 3-0 (25-13, 25-20, 25-17) sweep of Il Bisonte of Florence, inspired by MVP of the match and top scorer on 13 points Sarah Fahr, who attacked for 71% (10/14).
The deciding match for the last semifinal berth, between Monza and Chieri, is scheduled for Sunday.
For full details of the competition check out the official website of the Italian Women's League.