Ana Carolina shouting out of joy after a big point!
Montreux, Switzerland, June 6, 2017- Brazil enjoyed a strong start to their campaign at the 2017 Montreux Volley Masters, but were given some test as they finally saw off Poland in a 3-1 (25-20, 21-25, 25-23, 26-24) thriller. It was wing spiker Tandara who held all the aces for the South Americans, with a devastating total of 21 points to help down their determined opponents and go top of Pool B for the time being.
The first set was closely fought affair, an early exchange of points eventually culminating in an 8-6 lead for the Brazilians. Keeping the Poles at arm’s length, they were able to sustain a two-point advantage for most of the set, Natalia Pereira a particularly troublesome presence for the Europeans, flexing her muscles on court with an emphatic smash point. The Selecao had the early edge and they opened up what would prove a decisive five-point lead in the first set at 15-10. The early momentum was with the South Americans, and they rallied to a 21-17 lead before eventually seeing out the set 20-25 to put themselves in the driving seat.
The onus was now on Poland to respond, and they struck back in the second set taking an early 6-2 lead in an attempt to haul back the tie. Their quick-start was somewhat impeded when Agnieszka Kakolewska was forcibly withdrawn through injury after rolling her ankle, the score at 12-10 at the time of her withdrawal. The Brazilians subsequently rallied to 16-14, after Adenizia Da Silva capitalised on the serve to keep her side two-points adrift, but the Poles held on to win a competitive second set 25-21 and tie the game.
The third set saw the Poles race into a 3-0 lead in a bid to turn the game around, but this time it was the turn of the South Americans to respond, and they did so with aplomb, hitting back to tie the third set early at 4-4 and then once more at 7-7. Both sides were neck and neck, every point being answered by another point before Brazil managed to unlock their opponents and seize a crucial 10-7 lead. From there, they began to stamp their authority on the match with a five-point lead at 15-10. Poland weren’t done yet though, and they pulled the set back to 18-18 going into the closing stages. Brazil seized a slender two point lead, and were pushed all the way by Poland as they eventually saw out the third set 25-23.
The fourth set opened in equally nail-biting and competitive fashion with a parity of 9-9 following a sequence of heart-stopping rallies. Poland looked to be seizing the initiative after establishing a 14-12 lead but Brazil roared back once again, turning the set on its head to retake the lead at 17-15. The momentum was swinging from one team to the other, and it looked as if the crowd was in for a five set classic as Poland edged a stunning rally to level the set at 19-19. Rallying to 23-21, Brazil looked to have the game safe until Poland dug in to restore parity and propel the set into sudden death. A pulsating affair was eventually edged by Brazil, a block point edging the fourth set 26-24 and getting the Selecao off to an ideal start.
With both teams able to take pride from their performance, they may both still fancy their chances of making an impact at this years competition. Poland will attempt to get their campaign back on track on Wednesday against 2016 runners-up Thailand, whilst the victorious Brazilians will hope to consolidate their strong start in a challenging tie against 2014 champions Germany.