Italian rising stars Orro and Egonu enjoy snow volleyball experience


Kronplatz, Italy, April 10, 2017 - Snow volleyball stands not only for fun. It is also an opportunity to draw everyone’s attention to those that have been going through difficult times, such as the people from areas of central Italy devastated by a quake last summer. Two elite volleyball players – 2016 Olympians Paola Egonu and Alessia Orro – and two former soccer stars – Gianluca Zambrotta and Serginho – joined forces on Sunday to play an exhibition match on snow and raise funds to support the people from Amatrice.

The AC Milan Foundation and Nutrilite – together with the local organisers from Kronplatz / Plan de Corones – showed remarkable spirit of solidarity by organising this exhibition and donating €15,000 for the construction of a soccer pitch in Amatrice, a little town severely struck by the quake in August 2016.

Serginho and Zambrotta played alongside – and under the mentorship – of Rachele Sangiuliano, a former member of the Italian women’s national team - and they did extremely well, eventually taking the match 21-16. Orro and Egonu, on the other hand, enjoyed the experience of playing as a pair for the first time in their respective careers.

“We had a lot of fun,” Egonu said. “However, I do not see myself as a beach volleyball or snow volleyball player in future,” she added. Egonu and Orro had to improvise a lot – with Egonu, who plays as an opposite hitter for Club Italia and the Italian national team, asked to receive the ball – something she almost never does when playing indoors. Orro, on the other hand, had to spike the ball multiple times – also something she is not that familiar with in her role as a setter.

“Nevertheless I enjoyed it very much and who knows, maybe one day when I stop playing indoors, I will switch to the sand and could play on snow too,” Orro said.

The two rising stars of Italian volleyball have been playing on the same team for five years already and they call each other ‘a friend’, not just a teammate. Together they shared an unforgettable Olympic adventure last summer in Rio. “I will never forget the emotions we felt when attending the opening ceremony,” they admit. “The whole world was watching us and we enjoyed being members of a much larger Italian delegation, including athletes from all other sports.”

Their Olympic adventure was not that successful since they lost all of their matches but one, still they look back at it with pride. “Of course we are young but I do not think we were not ready for this,” Orro said. “The fact is that we had a very difficult pool, playing many strong teams, but despite the result, this experience certainly made us grow and improve.”

They will have a short break for the Easter holidays and after that resume their preparations with the Italian national team programme. “We want to qualify for the World Championship, do well in the World Grand Prix and possibly win a medal at the European Championship,” Egonu said. “It is always an honour and a responsibility to wear the shirt of the national team, because in the end this is what all volleyball players dream about since the very beginning of their careers.”

Stay tuned to see how Alessia and Paola will blossom and help Italy continue their success story in women’s volleyball…

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