(By FIVB) – Lodz, Poland, June 8, 2012 – Paula Pequeno, Eight time FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix champions Brazil edged a tight five-set (21-25, 25-18, 25-23, 23-25, 15-5) victory over Serbia in Pool D of the 2012 edition of the tournament in Lodz, Poland on Saturday, their first win of the competition.
The European champions failed to gain revenge for last year’s World Cup, when they lost to Brazil in Toyama by the same scoreline. Brazilians Paula Pequeno and Fernanda Rodrigues both topped the scores with 22 points while Jovana Brakocevi scored 17 points for Serbia.
Brazil had difficulty finding a way round Serbia’s high block (Jovana Brakocevi 196 cm tall, Stefana Veljkovi 190 cm, Brankica Mihajlovi 190 cm), going down 10-4. Jose Guimaraes “Ze Roberto” called a time out which seemed to help invigorate his side. But it was too little too late as Serbia woke up in time to take the set.
Serbia committed more unforced errors during the beginning of the second set than they had done in whole of the first set, helping Brazil carve a lead. Ze Roberto’s team began to defend well and Brazil captain, Fernanda Rodrigues impressed with her powerful kills from the left and right wing. Having a five point lead in the middle of the set, Ze Roberto made a double substitution, introducing one of the most experienced players in his team – Joyce Silva “Joycinha”. Brazil controlled the game until the end, winning 25-18, after a superb block from Rodrigues and Adenizia Silva on Mihajlovi.
The ten minute break between the second and third set did not slow up the South Americans, who took the lead from the beginning. After dangerous situation, when opposite Tandara Caixeta and libero Camila Brait fell on each other Polish fans gave the Brazilian libero big applause. She was a little shocked by the collision, but came back on court just two minutes later. Serbia took control for a moment but it was all about Brazil thanks to one of the greatest players of the last few years in Paula Pequeno as they took the lead for the first time in the match.
There was a crucial moment in the fourth when, after a long play, Brazil setter Dani Lins made a mistake, sending the ball too low to Tandara to the right wing, helping Serbia take the lead 19-14. But the South Americans did not give up, tying at 20-20 and took the lead 22-21. However Serbian setter Bojana ivkovi served an ace and second opposite Sanja Starovi stopped Tandara at the net to help set up a tie-break, the third in a row in Poland this year.
Brazil had a great start in the final part of the match, building a lead of 8-2. Serbia couldn’t match their South American counterparts, eventually losing the match.
On Sunday Serbia will face Italy, while Brazil face hosts Poland.