Brazil hand Serbia its first loss in the FIVB Women’s World Grand Prix

Brazil hand Serbia its first loss in the FIVB Women’s World Grand Prix
Photo Credit To @volei

A rampant Brazil side swept Serbia aside 26-24, 25-17, 25-22 in the opening match of the second weekend of the FIVB Women’s World Grand Prix tournament in Sendai, Japan. Additionally, the South Americans avenged their loss against the European side a week ago at Ankara, Turkey.

The Brazilians demonstrated outstanding blocking skills throughout the match. They made 14 all in all, half of which Adenizia Da Silva had made. Brazil also served well along crucial stretches of the match, especially in the first set. Trailing at 19-23, Brazil coach José Roberto Guimarães introduced Amanda Francisco who turned the set into their favour with her impeccable serving.

Natalia Pereira led the team with 16 markers with Tandara Caixeta chipping in 10 points. Apart from their superb defence at the net, the Brazilians kept their errors to a minimum as well, only making 8. On the other hand, Serbia committed 16. Serbia had 4 more spikes in total but after the first set, they struggled to get past Brazil’s blocking. Ana Bjelica scored 15 points and Brankica Mihajlovic added 11 for Serbia, who couldn’t get past the same opponents they had beaten a week earlier.

Serbia started really well and had a great chance to take the first set on the back of Mihajlovic’s great spiking. However, the outside spiker looked fatigue towards the end of the second set and was eventually withdrawn. As Serbia lost their firepower, Brazil continued their dominance in almost every department, eventually overwhelming their opponents. Brazil continue their quest to defend their 2016 title with a match against this weekend’s hosts Japan while Serbia will be taking on Thailand next.

Amanda shakes up the first set

It was very close contest early in the first set as the two teams exchanged point for point. They did not get separated by more than a point up until 11 all, when Serbia took the next three, including blocks from Jovana Stevanovic and Bjelica. The Brazilians responded swiftly to cut the deficit at 14-15 but Brankica Mihajlovic came to life. The outside spiker playing for Tianjin Volleyball went on a spiking spree, taking Serbia to a healthy 23-19 advantage.

On the brink of losing the first set, Brazil looked to shake things up and introduced Amanda for serving. The Praia Clube player served immaculately and had Serbia receiving poorly. Brazil’s frontline flexed its muscle as well, capping off a 5-0 run with two blocks, taking Brazil to set point. Serbia managed to save it with a quick Stefana Veljkovic kill but Brazil finally closed the set out. First, Serbia made a service error and then Peireira rising high for a spike to finish off an incredible first set comeback.

Brazil takes hold of the match

It was at the second set wherein Brazil firmly took hold of the match. The Brazilians raced to an 8-3 lead thanks to Adenizia’s all-around game and Ana Beatriz Correa’s blocking. Serbia managed to get to within three at 8-11 but Brazil clicked into gear. The South Americans scored eight of the next nine points, with Serbia’s solitary point scored off of Brazil’s lifting violation.

During that run, Serbia committed a few errors as well, especially Mihajlovic who couldn’t keep her spikes down. Serbia managed to score three consecutive points to trail 12-19 but Brazil went on another offensive spree. A Naiane de Almeida Rios ace capped off a five-point run and gave Brazil set point at 24-12. However, the Serbians didn’t give the set up easily and amazingly went on a run of their own, scoring the next five points. After the Serbians managed to make the set score more acceptable, Brazil finally finished the second set off. Monique scored off the block to give Brazil the second set and a 2 sets to 0 advantage.

Serbia comes out firing

With their backs against the ropes, Serbia came out firing in the third set to match Brazil. The Europeans led 6-4 early on, but as if on queue, the South Americans found their rhythm again. They came up with four unanswered points to wrestle the lead away from Serbia at 8-6. Unlike the earlier sets, though, this didn’t deter Serbia. They embarked on a good run of points on the back of their blocking, taking a 15-11 lead. Serbia looked to have the set under control and seemed determined to extend the contest but Brazil had other ideas.

Roberta Silva Ratzke showed off her serving skills and Brazil scored four consecutive points, including two of the setter’s aces. After Bojana Milenkovic and Pereira exchanging spikes, the teams are deadlocked at 18-18. At this point, it looked like the set was going down to a nervy finish. However, Brazil then picked Serbia off with clinical volleyball. Four consecutive points that included an Ana Beatriz spike and a Tandara block gave Brazil a 22-19 advantage. Not to be outdone, Serbia scored the next three points on the trot to draw level at 22 all. It was at this point that Brazil rose to the occasion. They came up with three consecutive points of their own to finally take the set and the match.


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