volleyball, just like its culture and lifestyle, is full of
flavor and it is these qualities the women's national
side will be counting on for an improved performance in this
year's World Grand Prix.
Brazil, ranked seventh in the world, are currently going through a
rebuilding phase and with that, they have attracted a lot of off
court pressure as the team looks to return to its glory days of
the 1990s, when Brazil won three World Grand Prix titles in six
Since then they have drifted off the pace a little, returning from
the World Grand Prix with fourth, fifth and third place finishes
in the last three years.
This year Brazilian coach Marco Motta will be looking to put some
of the highly charge off court energy into a form, which will see
his team triumph again. Last year's World Championship placing of
seventh was extremely disappointing but the signs are there that
this current side have the goods to return to the winner's podium.
"We are working hard with a team, that is growing more mature
and motivated every day," coach Motta said.
The fact that three Brazilan players (Valeska Menezes - Best
Blocker, Fabiana Oliveira - Best Libero, Marcelle Rodrigues - Best
Setter) picked up individual awards at last year's World Grand
Prix, when Brazil finished fourth, is a reflection of the talent
that this side possesses.
Twenty-seven-year-old Marcelle Rodrigues, the sister of star
skipper Karin, has developed in to being a key component in this
Brazilian show. She drives the machine that makes this team so
lethal with her delicate, yet precise sets. Her outstanding work
as the play maker in this team was rewarded with the Best Setter
award at the 2002 World Championship and World Grand Prix.
No doubt all Brazilian fans will be hoping for more when the first
weekend of this year's World Grand Prix starts with playing China,
Canada and Thailand starting on July 18.