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11/04/2021 15:00
Santarelli: The team that shows better mental approach will triumph at the #SuperFinals
CEV Champions League Volley 2021 - Women

Luxembourg, April 11, 2021. Reigning club world champions, A. Carraro Imoco Volley Conegliano are on fire this season. Much of their success is, of course, the result of the excellent work of head coach Daniele Santarelli and his staff. On May 1, Santarelli and his players will have the opportunity to grab the trophy from Europe's elite competition. But to do so, they have a big challenge to overcome - the Turkish powerhouse of VakifBank Istanbul. Conegliano are hungry for the #CLVolleyW gold medal, since it is the only one missing in their list of achievements (they have finished as vice-champions twice in this competition, in 2017 and in 2019). 

Daniele Santarelli is the right man to lead the Panthers in this journey. He has been in the club since 2015/2016 (first working as an assistant coach and then as a head coach). In his time in Conegliano, Santarelli has won some of the most important cups (Italian Cup and Supercup), and has triumphed with the Scudetto in the Italian league, while leading the team toward excellent performances on the international stage.

A. Carraro Imoco CONEGLIANO celebrating a victory

A.Carraro Imoco Volley Conegliano delivered an outstanding performance in CEV Champions League Volley 2021 - Women, winning hands down in the semi-finals against the 2019 #CLVolleyW champions from Igor Gorgonzola Novara. On Saturday, the Panthers extended their winning streak to 61 victories, qualifying for the final of the Italian league. It is the busiest time of the year for Conegliano and it will be of utmost importance for Santarelli's girls to maintain the high level as they did during the past months. "We managed to keep our level high because our goal is very clear to us. After being defeated two years ago in the Super Final in Berlin, our group has always had the desire to bounce back and to try and win the only trophy that’s missing in our list. Last year, we had to stop because of the pandemic, now we want to go all the way," Santarelli explains.

Conegliano has met VakifBank twice in the final stage of the competition, and now, the expectations are high. "The match promises to be an amazing show between two of the best teams in the world. Both VakifBank and us are in the spotlight of European and international volleyball, we have played against each other many times. Both teams are mature, with clear objectives, so this match has the potential of becoming a memorable one.  We are ready, we have been going after this trophy for two years now, and we want to give our best in Verona."

Looking at the statistics from this #CLVolleyW season, both Conegliano and VakifBank have an overall 49% excellence in attack, with almost equal performance on the block and in reception. "I think that the mental approach to the game will be crucial and might be the key to the success. If both teams play at the top of their technical skills, I expect a long, hard-fought match; a balanced one that will be decided by the team spirit. The ones who show better mental approach, will be the favourites," Santarelli states.

Paola Egonu being named MVP of the first semi-final match between Igor Gorgonzola NOVARA vs A. Carraro Imoco CONEGLIANO

On May 1, all eyes will be on star player Paola Egonu who has recorded 174 points in this #CLVolleyW campaign so far. Santarelli, however, prefers to focus on the group effort. “We have always counted on the efforts of the whole group. Our strength lies in the teamwork, not in the performance of a single player. The opposite’s role is to lead the attack, to be the top scorer of the team. Of course, Paola will be of utmost importance in a game like this. We are happy to know that we can count on the strongest player in the world, but always in the context of the group.”

Santarelli and his team are now focused on the final of the Italian championship, where they will meet again the team of Igor Gorgonzola Novara. The Panthers prefer to take it “one goal at a time” and will start their more detailed preparation for the Super Final in Verona after that. 

Santarelli coaching

Playing on home soil, even in times of pandemic, has its positive side according to Santarelli. “Not having to travel helps us to smoothly plan our path to the Super Final. In addition, it’s a pleasure to have the opportunity of playing such an important event in Italy, close to our homes. The only bitterness comes from not being able to play in Verona in front of an audience. It would have been great seeing thousands of supporters rooting for us. We have missed them a lot this year, and we will do our best on May 1 to make them happy!”


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