April 1, 2023

Some may refer to the Volleyball Nations League 2022 as ‘The Paola Egonu Show.’ The Italian opposite had previously competed in the tournament twice, but she had never been as dominant as she was this year, when she led Italy to their first title with her brilliant play.

As a result of Egonu’s play, which earned her the Most Valuable Player award for the first time at the competition, the Italians advanced all the way to the finals on Sunday in Ankara, Türkiye. This victory added Italy to the list of countries that have triumphed in the women’s competition after the United States of America had won the first three iterations of the Volleyball Nations League (VNL).

Egonu, who is now 23 years old, was one of the players on Italy’s squad for the first season of the VNL in 2018. This competition took place in 2018. Despite the fact that she is widely acknowledged as one of the best players on the planet, she finished the Preliminary Phase in 14th place with a total score of 180 points, which places her slightly below the excellent standards she has set for herself. Her productivity in 2019 was comparable, as she finished the year with 179 points and a position of 17 on the scorer’s table.

Egonu did not appear on the Italian roster in 2021, and her absence from the 2021 edition of the VNL appears to have fueled her enthusiasm for the 2022 competition. Even though her ninth placing in the scorer’s chart might not seem to be on par with her renown, it certainly appears to be a lot more amazing when you consider that she generated 211 points participating in just nine of the 15 matchups that Italy played. Also due to the fact that she only walked off the court with fewer than 20 points on two separate occasions, one of which was a match in which she was only on the court for a portion of two full sets.

It is very evident that the Italian superstar has been saving her best performance for the VNL Finals. Her performance throughout the decisive portion of the competition, which consisted of the last three matches in Ankara, totaled 83 points, which was 30 more than the second-best ranked player in the same time period had in the same stage of the competition.

She led Italy to a 3-1 victory over China in the quarterfinals with 36 points, dropped another 26 as the champions cruised through the hosts Türkiye in the semifinals, and was the top scorer in the gold medal match against Brazil with 21 points.

She said, “I am extremely happy and proud of what I’ve done on an individual level, but even more of what we did as a team, which is the most important.” “I am very happy and proud of what I’ve done on an individual level,” she said. “Since we have accomplished a lot, we are going to take some time off to relax before beginning our preparations for the World Championship, which is going to be another competition that holds a significant amount of weight for us. I would like to dedicate this triumph, as well as the Most Valuable Player award I received, to my grandfather.

Middle blocker Ana Carolina ‘Carol’ da Silva was another player that shone out in the VNL 2022. In the match for the gold medal, she competed against Egonu and faced off against her. The Brazilian player, who is 31 years old, had outstanding blocking skills throughout the competition, and as a result, she ended up breaking the record most blocks in the VNL, which had previously been held by the Polish player Agnieszka Kakolewska.

The Brazilian player finished the VNL with 63 stuffs, which was 12 more than the Turkish player Zehra Gunes, who finished in second place, and 11 more than the record that Kakolewska established in 2018.

Unfortunately for her, the match for the VNL gold medal was the one in which she had her least effective performance at the net. In that match, she only produced one block point and was unable to assist her Brazilian colleagues in slowing Egonu down.

When the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship takes place in the Netherlands and Poland from September 23 to October 15, Egonu, Carol, and all of the other stars who played at the VNL will return to the courts. The championship will take place from September 23 to October 15.

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