Tokyo, Japan, November 12, 2009 – Defending champions Brazil overcame South Korea 28-26, 25-17, 25-15 in their third match at the FIVB Women’s World Grand Champions Cup 2009 to maintain their unbeaten record at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Thursday. Marianne Steinbrecher scored 16 points to lead Brazil, followed by Sheilla Castro with 13. Kim Yeon Koung was South Korea's top scorer with 16 points.
The Koreans started out brightly enough with lefty Hwang Youn Joo delivering a couple of decent spikes, but world number one Brazil are hard to shake off and they edged into a one-point lead at the first technical timeout. By the second timeout, the Olympic champions had extended that lead five points as the Koreans struggled to cope with their all-round attack. But as they showed against Italy on Wednesday, they're not inclined to go down without a fight and they kept plugging away at the Brazilians and defending vigorously, with libero Kim Hae Ran doing some good work. Korean coach Ryu Hoa Suk brought on 16-year-old Park Jeong Ah midway through the first set and she had an immediate effect with her big serves. Yang Hyo Jin got into the act with three huge blocks, the third of which brought the two teams level at 21. South Korea crept into the lead on massive blocks by Kim Hee Jin and Kim Yeon Koung and had three setpoints. But they couldn't convert them and when Steinbrecher earned Brazil setpoint at 27-26, it was all they needed. Park sent a good-looking spike just wide and the Koreans found themselves a set down.
Brazil moved into a 5-2 lead early in the second set, but after Korean coach Ryu called a timeout, the Koreans settled down. But after pulling back to 8-7, the Koreans were faced with a more determined Brazil team and the South Americans stretched their lead to seven points at the second TTO, thanks to good blocking and some hefty blows from Castro and Steinbrecher. Brazil had a slight blip when they made three successive hitting errors, but then they came up with three great blocks that put them 23-16 up. Joyce Silva earned setpoint with a good spike and then finished off the set with a first-time shot through the Korean defenses.
Ryu called a timeout after South Korea lost the first three points of the third set and his team responded with a terrific spike from Kim Yeon Koung, followed by sensational blocks by the same player on Castro and by Kim Sa Nee on Natalia Pereira. But the Brazilians were still able to move into a five-point lead at 11-6. The Koreans fought back again through Kim Yeon Koung, but Pereira started to find a brutal spiking groove that the Koreans found hard to deal with and soon they were five points down again and visibly deflating. Park was blocked by Ana Tiemi Takagui and then made successive spiking errors to put Brazil 23-14 up. Lee Bo Lam netted a serve to give matchpoint to Brazil and a simple tipover by Adenizia Silva finished the match.