Montreux, Switzerland, June 10, 2017- Day 4 of the Montreux Masters saw three sides in Brazil, Germany, and Argentina join China in the semi-finals of the 32nd edition of the Montreux Volley Masters. For the South Americans, big wins over Thailand and Switzerland rubber-stamped their places, and there were some pulsating rallies on show in those clashes.
One of the best in Brazil’s win over Thailand came early in the second set with Brazil in the lead, and it was a heart-stopping rally which was eventually settled by an exquisite spike from Ana Carolina Da Silva (Carol), as the Seleção took the point.
Reception and defence from both teams in the rally is excellent. Both sides attempt to win the point with some wonderful spiking attempts which are well foiled by the defending player. The Brazilians also show off their blocking game to the excitement of the crowd in attendance, Tandara Caixeta and Carol forming a wonderful two-player blocking wall to foil Chatchu-On Moksri’s attempted spike for Thailand.
Ajcharaporn Kongyot shows off her reception skills at the back, as does Brazil’s Libero Suelen Pinto, showing wonderful agility to save the ball. Her reflexes enable the ball to sit up for Roberta Silva Ratzke, who sets up for Drussyla Costa to spike. Defence again becomes important here for the Thais, Soraya Phomia able to save the ball. The spike proves hot for her to handle, which forces Ajcharaporn into some wonderful improvisation to save the ball and continue the rally. Piyanut Ponnay then forces the ball over into the Brazil half in order to avoid concession of the point after the Thais had taken three touches, and her forced touch gives Suelen an easy ball to feed Roberta, who sets for Carol to spike and take the point, which catches the Thais out having drawn them forward toward the net, Ajcharaporn barely in position. A well worked rally from Brazil, and an indication of just how and why they have been so successful thus far at the competition.
For Argentina, their match with Switzerland was a comprehensive affair, with victory in straight sets to seal top spot in Pool A, but they were made to work for their match point in this rally here.
The exciting part begins when Argentina’s block is in place, but Maja Storck’s spike has enough height and power to get over the two at the net, Emilce Sosa and Paula Nizetich. Elina Rodríguez is able to receive well, the sting taken out of it by Nizetich and Sosa, with the ball dropping at favourable pace and position. Clarisa Sagardia then sets up for Nizetich to spike, Swiss Libero Thays Deprati showing agility to save the ball. Storck’s spike lacks bite and Sagardia receives well, Morena Martínez-Franchi the makeshift Argentina Libero then setting up for Nizetich to spike.
The Swiss block is up to the task however, Martina Halter and Méline Pierret in the two-player block. The key is in the awareness and alertness of Martínez, whose clever save allows Priscila Bosio to hook the ball back across her side of the court to Nizetich, the switch in play catching the Swiss off guard. The blocking duo cannot cover ground quick enough to form an effective wall, thus Nizetich’s spike is forced out to seal match-point and top spot for Argentina.
Rallies can come at any time in the game, but regardless of when and where they come in the match, the points won from them always tend to be critical, and not many come as vital as a match-point.