Imoco on verge of completing third victorious season


Article Mon, May 16 2022
Author: Nikolay Markov
Nikolay Markov

In just two days, it will be three years since A. Carraro Imoco Conegliano’s last loss in the women’s CEV Champions League Volley. In just another four days, there is about 50% chance that the amazing winning streak of the Italian team in the competition will come to an end, but the other 50% say that it will claim another continental title and extend its victorious run over the entire three consecutive seasons.

Since losing the 2019 Champions League final in four sets to compatriots Igor Gorgonzola Novara on May 18, Imoco has won 26 Champions League matches in a row. In the 2019-2020 season, it was cruising towards a coveted first-ever trophy in the competition and reached the semifinals after seven back-to-back victories, when the campaign was prematurely interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. Last season, however, Imoco brought its quest all the way to the historic title and triumphed after another 11 consecutive wins. The squad from Conegliano has stayed unbeaten through another eight games this season to reach the Super Final on May 22 and a chance to defend its title against the same team it narrowly defeated last year, Turkey’s VakifBank Istanbul.

However, this 26-game winning streak in the competition is somehow overshadowed by Imoco’s Guinness world-record-breaking run of 76 consecutive wins in all competitions, which the team established between December 12, 2019 and December 1, 2021. That streak started shortly after Imoco claimed its first FIVB Club World Championship trophy and took the squad to the trophies in all other official competitions it took part in – the Champions League, the national championship, the national cup and the national super cup – and a well-deserved status of the world’s best club team.

As the victory streak came to a surprising end in December, Imoco’s halo of invincibility has lost some of its glow. Still coach Daniele Santarelli’s squad has made it through the season on a 45-5 win-loss record so far, successfully defending three of the five trophies and on the verge of retaining a fourth, the Champions League title.

One of those five defeats, a five-set loss at the hands of VakifBank, cost Imoco the club world title, but the Italian team still took the prestigious silver and added the season’s trophies of the Lega Pallavolo Serie A1, the Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa Italiana.

Within its seven Champions League matches actually played so far this season (for coronavirus-related reasons, one of the eight wins was awarded), Santarelli’s squad has registered a 53% average success rate in attack, which is the highest among all participating teams and makes Imoco’s offense its most dangerous weapon ahead of the upcoming Super Final.

The team has dropped only one of the 22 sets played and tallied 340 successful spikes, 65 kill blocks and 32 aces, or a total of 437 active points, which means an average of 19.86 per set, again the highest among all in the competition. Imoco also tops the chart for most active break points per set with an 8.95 average. It has handled perfectly 30.03% of the opponents’ serves, a rate second only to VakifBank’s 37.74%.

Sunday’s ultimate battle at the Dvorana Center Stozice in Ljubljana will be Imoco’s fourth Champions League final. In addition to last year’s gold, the Italian club took silver in 2017 and 2019, as well as a bronze medal in 2018. Its showcase also includes the two Club World Championship medals (a gold and a silver), eight national championship podiums (including five titles), six national cup finals (including four trophies) and five national super cup crowns.