Stars of the Super Finals: Imoco Volley Conegliano


Article Mon, May 9 2022
Author: Nikolay Markov
Nikolay Markov

If I have to list all the big stars on A. Carraro Imoco Conegliano’s roster, my list and the full roster will overlap pretty much completely. In an attempt to present the biggest of the big ahead of the Italian team’s participation in the women’s CEV Champions League Volley Super Final, I will focus here on just one player in each of the five positions.

Joanna Wolosz (POL)

It takes one of the world’s greatest playmakers to lead one of the world’s greatest teams. And of course, to dominate the world the way Imoco did in recent years, it has Joanna Wolosz. The 32-year-old Polish setter joined the team from Conegliano in 2017 and has been instrumental to its overwhelming success, including a period of almost two years without a single loss in any competition, when a new Guinness world record of 76 consecutive wins was set. With Wolosz in charge of conducting Imoco’s attack, the team was the simultaneous trophy-holder in all five big competitions they play – the FIVB Club World Championship, the CEV Champions League, the Italian league, the Italian cup and the Italian super cup. She was twice named Best Setter of the Club World Championships, in 2019 and 2021, and three times of the Champions League, in 2018, 2019 and 2021, in addition to claiming a number of individual awards, including MVP honors, in various domestic competitions in Italy and Poland. As a national team player, Wolosz made the Dream Team of the CEV European Olympic Qualification in January 2020, when she last played for Poland before announcing her return for the upcoming national team season.

Paola Egonu (ITA)

But what good is a great playmaker, if there is no great striker to finish off those brilliant passes in an as brilliant a manner? And Imoco has one of those too. Arguably the best opposite in the world of women’s volleyball, Paola Egonu is undoubtedly the big star of both the club from Conegliano and the Italian national team. Her recent nomination as the EuroVolley 2021 Most Valuable Player is just one of a long list of individual awards the 23-year-old volleyballer has accumulated since joining the senior level at the age of 16. Egonu was also the MVP of the previous two editions of the Champions League and the 2019 edition of the Club World Championship, and the best opposite of the 2018 FIVB World Championship, among the many Dream Team nominations and best scorer achievements she has earned. The 1.93-meter-tall attacker joined Imoco in 2019, just before the team’s fantastic run to the top of the world began. On a per-set average of 7.69 points, Paola is by far the most efficient scorer of the current edition of the Champions League so far.

Miriam Sylla (ITA)
Outside Hitter

Another reigning European champion with Italy, Miriam Sylla, is a solid asset on coach Daniele Santarelli’s line-up. The Best Outside Hitter of the last two EuroVolley editions, in 2019 and 2021, and of the 2018 World Championship is not only an important weapon in offense, but also Imoco’s best receiver in this edition of the Champions League, having handled perfectly 20.45% of the opponent serves directed at her. The 27-year-old outside has been a member of the club since 2018.

Robin De Kruijf (NED)
Middle Blocker

After previously playing for VakifBank Istanbul, Imoco’s opponent in the upcoming Super Final, Robin De Kruijf joined the club from Conegliano back in 2016 and is about to complete her sixth season wearing the Panthers’ jersey. The 31-year-old former Dutch international is a three-time EuroVolley silver medalist with the Netherlands. With Imoco and her previous clubs, she has made it to the podiums of as many as six Champions League editions. The 31-year-old athlete has also picked up numerous individual awards, including Dream Team nominations at two Club World Championships, the 2021 Champions League and the CEV European Olympic Qualification tournaments for both the Rio and the Tokyo Games.

Monica De Gennaro (ITA)

Many would say that Monica De Gennaro is the best female libero in the world. Many would agree. So would I. Fantastic in both digging and reception, the 35-year-old De Gennaro has been a key member of Imoco’s line-up since 2013 and of the Italian national team since 2006. In addition to the plenty of medals she has picked up with both teams, her personal showcase includes a long list of individual awards, including Best Libero nominations at the 2017 and the 2021 Champions Leagues, the 2021 Club World Championship, EuroVolley 2021 and the 2014 and the 2018 World Championships, to name a few. Rare for a player in the position, the well-seasoned libero has also collected several MVP awards, including those of the 2019 Italian league, the 2017 Italian cup and the 2013 Mediterranean Games.

These five players are just an illustration of what Imoco Conegliano has to offer as it goes up against VakifBank in the 2022 Super Final in Ljubljana. But let me also mention the names of Italian setter Giulia Gennari, American outsides Kathryn Plummer and Megan Courtney and middle blockers Raphaela Folie of Italy and Hristina Vuchkova of Bulgaria among the stars who can play their key roles at the Dvorana Center Stozice on May 22.