Montreux, Switzerland, June 11, 2017- Brazil were crowned champions of the 2017 Montreux Volley Masters as they avenged their earlier defeat to Germany in the pool phase with a spellbinding performance to win 3-0 (25-21, 25-18, 25-20) at Salle Omnisports Pierrier. The victory puts the gloss on a fine tournament from the Selecao, going on to take gold after writing the wrongs of 2016 in the semi-finals against China.
It had already been an emotional tournament for José Roberto Guimaraes’ side. Hindered by retirements and rocked by the absence of key players with injury, a Brazil side in the midst of a transitional phase was still able to live up to its billing as a contender. Their defeat on home soil in last year’s Olympics still fresh in their minds, they exorcised those demons with style en route to the final, before settling one final score with the Germans, who’d done a number on them in the group stages but were blown away by a mesmerising Brazil performance. It wasn’t a fairytale end for Germany, who to their credit reached the final despite a hectic pre-tournament schedule which saw them qualify for the 2018 FIVB Women’s World Championships on the eve of this year’s Montreux Masters. On this occasion, fatigue seemed to have finally caught up with an off-colour German side, but that is to take nothing away from a five-star Brazilian performance that was worthy of winning any final; Rosamaria Montibeller, Natália Pereira and Ana Carolina Da Silva all putting in spellbinding displays.
The Germans took first blood as a competitive first set began in competitive fashion, a partisan crowd in attendance who greeted every rally with thunderous roars and applause. Germany’s defensive set-up was impeccable in the opening exchanges, as their blocking neutralised the threat of Tandara Caixeta and Rosamaria early on as they sought to hit the Germans with spikes from the flanks. Midway through the set, neither team had established superiority, both sides jostling for the initiative and cancelling each other out, Louisa Lippmann, Maren Brinker and Jennifer Geerties all outstanding for the Germans as they have been throughout the tournament. Brazil were able to seize a two point lead in the latter stages of the set after an attempted German spike just went out of play, and Edinara clinched the set for Brazil at 25-21 with a clinical spike to take a giant leap toward the coveted gold medal.
Their resilience proven throughout the tournament, Germany refused to back down and they flew out of the blocks to build a lead in the second set, before an Adenizia Da Silva block signalled the start of a comeback which would lay bare Brazil’s intent. Tandara and Rosamaria followed up with strong spikes to restore parity at 6-6, before the South Americans upped the ante to motor into an 11-14 lead, the Germans once more on the back foot after another devastating spike from Tandara. At 15-19, the Germans looked as if the demands of their schedule in the build-up of their run to the final had finally gotten the better of them, Felix Koslowski’s radiant side understandably toiling on the big occasion as Carol hit a spike dead centre to put Brazil at set-point, which was duly taken with a block by Adenizia, the score 25-18.
The gold medal in touching distance, Brazil sought to cap off a swashbuckling performance at this year’s competition by finishing the final in straight sets. Their resolve was not to be broken, Rosamaria hitting seven points over the set, as her team built a 7-10 lead. In the driving seat and speeding toward the finish line, Brazil played both professionally and ice coolly despite the obvious pressure. Germany, however, remained defiant, and salvaged some pride in a tired performance with a lovely kill from Lippmann to cut Brazil’s advantage to 13-16, but were unable to rein in the South Americans, owed to some wonderful defensive work and excellent improvisation in defence from Libero Suelen Pinto. That gave Rosamaria the cushion she needed to steal away for another slick spike to ease Brazil into a four point lead over their counterparts. Seven points from glory, Brazil tightened their grip and squeezed the Germans to the end, and the curtain was brought down on this year’s showpiece when a long attempted spike from Germany flew out of play with Brazil at match point. Falling to earth outside the boundary line, the final was over, and Brazil had sealed their place in history with a seventh Montreux Masters title.