Lausanne, Switzerland, February 12, 2019 – Italian opposite and FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship silver medallist Paola Egonu sat down with fivb.com to talk about her role as leading scorer, her rivalry with Serbia’s Tijana Boskovic and her personal goals.
The young and talented Egonu made waves last year with her scoring performances, including her 45-point semifinal performance against China at the World Championship that smashed the tournament’s all-time top scoring record.
Egonu also emerged as the all-time top scorer of the World Championship, leading her team to the World Championship final for the second time.What would you say about being the team’s leading scorer?
Paola Egonu: Honestly, I consciously need to mature and improve a lot still if I want to reach my real best. I am proud of my career so far and I am happy to be considered by my teammates as their go-to hitter.After your brilliant performances at the World Championship, do you see your rivalry with Tijana Boskovic continuing into the next tournaments?
Paola Egonu: Tijana has some more international experience than I do, but I am confident about my chances to play a lot of important games and I also think the same for Serbia, which will still be one of the top teams in the world for several years. So I hope to play a lot of important games against Tijana because it would mean that Italy would also be among the top teams in the world.
What do you want to achieve with the national team this year and for years to come?Quick links - Volleyball:
Paola Egonu: After such a wonderful World Championship result, we hope to do our best in 2019 to confirm that we are among the best teams in the world. We want to fight for the European crown and also the VNL. We want to conquer a spot in the Olympic Games.
Who are you closest to among your team-mates in the national team?
Paola Egonu: Miriam Sylla is kind of my big sister. She is for sure the person I am closest to among the national team players, but I also have a wonderful relationship with my roommate Sara Fahr, also Monica De Gennaro and Lia Malinov.
How is your club season going so far?
Paola Egonu: This is my second season at Novara. One year ago, I started my professional career with this club and after a couple of months I won my first titles – the Italian Supercup and the Italian Cup. Unfortunately, we missed the Champions League finals and also the Italian Championship title. So this season, I want to win those titles.
So far, the 2019 season started in the best way possible. A few days ago we won our second Italian Cup in a row!
Do you see a lot of differences in your role at your club and at the national team?
Paola Egonu: I do not see a lot of differences as both roles involve me being the player to attack the most on an important number of balls. I know that I need to give my best to bring my team to victory.
How do you enjoy your free time?
Paola Egonu: Actually we have a very busy schedule this season, so we haven’t had a lot of free time. I try to enjoy every single moment of it with my friends and when it’s possible, with my family. My family is far away and they live in Manchester (UK), but they support me everyday anyway.
If you were to create your own Dream Team, who are the six players - past or present - you would like to play with?
Paola Egonu: My Dream Team would be composed of the following:
Outside Spikers (2): Miriam Sylla and Brankica Mihajlovic
Setter (1): Eleonora Lo Bianco
Middle Blocker (2): Robin De Kruijf and Raphaela Folie
Libero (1): Monica De Gennaro
What are your expectations for the next edition of the Volleyball Nations League?
Paola Egonu: I still don’t know my schedule with the national team because it will also depend on the our results in the Italian League playoffs and the Champions League final phase. I hope to play in the final scheduled on May 18, and then I hope to join the national team later.
I expect my team to play a great VNL. It will be the first official international competition after the World Championship and we want to show the world that we can be again among the top teams.
What can the fans expect from Paola Egonu at the VNL?
Paola Egonu: What can people expect from me? Pride and passion on the court as always! I love volleyball and I will fight for victory with my teammates in every single game.
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