Montreux, Switzerland, June 10, 2017- Day 4 of the 2017 Montreux Volley Masters saw the semi-final line-up of the 32nd edition decided, as Germany, Brazil, and Argentina all booked their place in the last four alongside holders and Olympic champions China. Although these teams have already made a real mark on this year’s Montreux Masters, all are adamant that their best is yet to come as they chase the coveted gold medal on offer on the Swiss Riviera.
Germany eventually progressed as group runners-up in Pool B. They guaranteed the point they required by taking the first two sets against Poland in their final group game, before complacency set in and they slipped to a 3-2 defeat overall. This shows that despite their strong opening two performances, there is still room for improvement according to Wing Spiker Dora Grozer, as the disappointment of defeat somewhat soured the taste of qualifying for the semis.
“We’re so happy that we’ve been able to qualify, but it’s sad that we didn’t win the match”, she said. “We played well but sometimes we let them put us under too much pressure, but we made it to the semi-finals so we’re happy”.
“We know that we have to analyse and improve, but we are growing with every game. Now we focus on the future and the game tomorrow against Argentina”.
Brazil sealed their progression as Pool B winners with victory over Thailand, and they believe they have unfinished business against semi-final opponents China, who eliminated them in the Olympic Games in Brazil last year, according to Middle Blocker Adenizia Da Silva.
“Of course, that defeat at the Olympics still in my head”, she said frankly. “But it’s not the time or the place to think about it. We know the opponent and they know us. It’s always difficult against Asian teams, but it will be all about the finer details and who is the more focused on the day.”
Regardless of how their semi-final reunion with the Chinese transpires, Adenizia also believes that her team has a bright future, since their youngsters are concentrated on developing their game, despite excelling in what is considered a challenging period of transition for them.
“We’re in an important phase of transition. In the beginning, it was difficult, but there is a lot more to come from this team”.
“I feel that I need to assume more responsibility with the younger players by talking to them and keeping them calm with good vibes”, she added. “The important thing is self-esteem, everybody can make mistakes; you just need the confidence to try, make mistakes, then learn from them”.
Pool A winners Argentina, whose win over Switzerland rounded off an impressive group campaign, are now the only team to remain unbeaten at the 2017 tournament. Opposite Lucia Fresco feels that the feat is down to them being unwilling to underestimate any opponent.
“We came into this tournament with the mentality to fight in every game”, Fresco said. “We knew the Swiss were locals, and we had to prepare ourselves as if it were a game against China. It is our first time in this tournament, we have to take every team seriously”.
“We’re used to playing in these kinds of tournaments where you play every day, and after one game you then have to clear your mind and prepare mentally for the next opponent. Preparing for the semi-final will be no different than any other game for us”.
For the Argentines, however, there is far more than just pride at stake, and Guillermo Orduna’s consider themselves to be on a historic journey, which they hope will raise the profile of the women’s game in their country.
“We feel like the first female team to make history for Argentina”, Fresco explained.
“We were at the Olympics for the first time in history last year, so for us every tournament is a chance to put women’s volleyball on top because in Argentina, it is mostly focused on the men. The women’s team aren’t very popular so this is important for us”.