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09/04/2021 09:00
Joanna Wolosz - captain of all trades
CEV Champions League Volley 2021 - Women

Luxembourg, April 9, 2021. As Italy braces itself to host the upcoming CEV Champions League Volley 2021 Super Finals on May 1, the home country’s expectations in the women’s continental title match fall on the shoulders of Italian standout A. Carraro Imoco Conegliano and hence on the shoulders of their most important player, playmaker Joanna Wolosz.

The 181-cm-tall Polish setter is not only the person in charge of creating opportunities for Imoco’s spikers. She often delivers the points herself, but most importantly, she is the captain and the true leader of the squad from Conegliano. Along with Italian libero Monica De Gennaro and American outside hitter Kimberly Hill, Wolosz, who turned 31 two days ago, is one of the oldest and most experienced players on coach Daniele Santarelli’s roster and carries more than a fair share of the responsibility to lead Imoco to their first-ever Champions League title.

In 2017-2018, her first season with the Imoco jersey, Joanna (Asia) Wolosz steered her team to the continental bronze medals. She was named on the Dream Team as the Best Setter of the Final Four event held in Bucharest. Back then, in the semifinals, they lost to Turkish powerhouse VakifBank Istanbul in five sets, which was still a better showing than in the previous season’s Champions League gold medal match, when VakifBank shut out the Italians in their first European final.

So as far as Wolosz and her teammates are concerned, it’s payback time as they meet VakifBank again in Verona next month with a historic achievement at stake - just like they got back at Igor Gorgonzola Novara for losing the Champions League trophy in the 2019 Super Final. In last month’s semifinals, Imoco shut out Igor twice, with the Polish playmaker deserving the MVP award in the deciding match.

So far this Champions League season, Imoco and VakifBank had 49% success rate in attack each, the highest among all teams in the competition, which is a compliment not only to their spikers, but also to their setters.

But while the Turkish team also enjoyed the comfort of having the best reception rate in the league, Wolosz had to deal with “only” 31% excellent reception. Turning that into a 49% in offence, with the 18-percentage-point difference one of the highest this season, already says a lot about the qualities of the Polish setter.

Asia did not shy away from scoring points herself. She has contributed six aces, seven stuff blocks and nine spiking points (at an impressive success rate of 47.4%) to Imoco’s Champions League tally since the start of the season.

The team from Conegliano have been on an amazing 77-1 win-loss run in all competitions since the start of the 2019-2020 season. As part of that successful run, Joanna Wolosz also captained the squad to the highest achievement in both the club’s history and her athletic career. In addition to earning the 2019 FIVB Club World Championship title together with her teammates, Asia also claimed the Best Setter spot on the honorary Dream Team of the tournament.

But it was just the most prominent one of Wolosz’s numerous individual awards. Most recently, she was named the Best Setter of the CEV European Olympic Qualification tournament in 2020 with the Polish national team and the MVP of the 2020 Italy Cup with Imoco.

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