Path to the Super Finals: Unbeaten Conegliano aim to seal perfect season


Article Tue, Apr 23 2024
Author: Adrian Costeiu

A perennial contender in the CEV Champions League Women, which made it to the final act of the European premium competition four times in the last six editions, A. Carraro Imoco Conegliano had the perfect season, with a 43-match winning streak in all competitions, winning all nine matches on their way to the Super Finals in Antalya.

The Italian powerhouse, which has a three-title winning streak in the domestic league, has been nothing short of special, as their carefully constructed roster has been firing from all cylinders, under the guidance of coach Daniele Santarelli, who has already secured the title in the CEV Champions League Women with Conegliano in 2021.

Over the past three seasons, Conegliano have been one of the most consistent teams in the European premium competition, winning 24 matches and conceding only two losses, one against Fenerbahce Opet Istanbul in last season’s quarter-finals, which saw them eliminated early, and one against VakifBank Istanbul in the Super Finals of the 2021/22 season.

Conegliano were one of the three teams which won all their matches in the 4th round, with only Fenerbahçe Opet Istanbul (no sets lost) and Savino del Bene Scandicci (two lost sets) conceding more sets than the Italian champions in their respective pools. 

In fact, Conegliano swept Allianz MTV Stuttgart, Asterix Avo Beveren and PGE Rysice Rzeszów on their way to the knockout phase of the competition, as they were down in only one match, after conceding the first set in the away match against Stuttgart, 21:25, only to come back and secure a 3:1 win, with a stunning display, 25:19, 25:20, 25:18.

Having finished third in the group winners standings, it meant that the quarter-finals were always going to be a tough proposition for Conegliano, with the Italian side meeting the reigning champions, VakifBank Istanbul, which had their issues, but were always a strong opponent.


In both matches of the doubleheader against VakifBank, Conegliano conceded the first set, with the Turkish side looking like the strongest opponent they faced this season. In the first leg, in Istanbul, VakifBank took the first set, 25:23, but were properly dominated, with Santarelli’s side taking the next three sets in fantastic fashion, 25:17, 25:18 and 25:18.

In the second leg, VakifBank went even further and dominated the first set, 25:20, but Conegliano had four players score at least 10 points, led by their star, Isabelle Haak, who had 19 points, forging a path to a 3:1 win (25:18, 25:19, 25:16).

On their way to another place in the Super Finals, after a one-season hiatus, Conegliano had to brush over last year’s runners-up, Eczacıbaşı Dynavit Istanbul, after previously eliminating the reigning champions, VakifBank Istanbul, making it the hardest possible path towards the title match for the Italian side.

Once again, Conegliano’s best player this season, Isabelle Haak, took over and delivered a performance for the ages, combining for 66 points to lift her side to two crucial wins, which meant that the Italian champions are back for the fourth time in six editions to play for the big trophy.

The hardest match in this season was the first leg, on their home court, where Eczacıbaşı Dynavit Istanbul took the first two sets, 28:26 and 25:20, only for Conegliano to roar back, deliver a comeback for the ages and secure the next three sets, 25:14, 25:22 and 18:16.

With Haak in superb fashion, Conegliano controlled the second leg, despite a lost third set, 24:26, dominating the other three, 25:17, 25:15 and 25:16, proving once and for all they are the team to beat this season in the CEV Champions League Women.

However, Conegliano have proven they are not unbeatable, conceding a loss against Novara in the semi-finals of the Italian league, as well as a loss in the final against Scandicci, with their opponents in the Super Finals, Allianz Vero Volley Milano, taking notes.