Canadian beach volleyball star Sarah Pavan is one of two big new signings for Italian squad Casalmaggiore. She, along with Francesca Napodano, will join the Italian runners-up next season.
Pavan splits her time between the beach and the indoor courts. She represented Canada at the 2016 Summer Olympics with then-partner Heather Bansley tied for 5th place. The two have since split up, and the 6’6″ Pavan is now teamed with Melissa Humana-Paredes. The pair are currently playing this weekend against their Canadian counterparts in The Hague – their 3rd tournament together on this year’s World Tour. The team’s highest finish was 2nd at the Rio major, earning them $8,000 each.
While Pavan is lately better known for her beach exploits, Pavan was the highest scorer of Serie A in the 2011-2012 season when playing for Villa Cortese. There, she picked up 354 points before heading to Brazil where she won 2 Brazilian and 1 South American Club Championships.
Also joining the team is Napodano, a prospect who has been playing in Serie B1, the 3rd tier of Italian volleyball (or top tier of its U18 ranks). There she was a part of Casal de Pazzi Staione’s 18 and under team.
Having hit her 18th birthday on January 17th, the 5’8″ libero is now already making the jump straight to Serie A. She’s already won 6 titles in various youth levels with Orago and Volleyrò – including the most recent U18 championship with Volleyrò.
There is some synergy here, as Napodano will play the summer on the Lega Volley Summer Tour 4×4 tournament, giving her also a beach tie.
Casalmaggiore carried two liberos last season, Italian National Teamer Imma Sirressi and Giulia Gibertini. The team has not yet announced which of the two will not return next season, presuming that they will only carry 2 going forward.
The club has already undergone drastic changes this offseason. Middle blocker Tama Susic has departed to be replaced by Colombian Lorena Garcia Zuleta. U.S. National teamer Lauren Gibbemeyer recently signed to play for Igor Gorgonzola NOVRA,
No announcement has been made one way or another about the future of American Olympian and star Carli Lloyd.
Casalmaggliore finished 2nd in the regular season of Serie A in 2017, but fell to Igor Gorgonzola Novara in the semi-finals of the playoffs 3-1. The playoff was not kind to the best teams in the regular seasons – the league’s top-ranked team Conegliano also lost in the semi-finals, 3-2 to Modena.