Tokyo, Japan, August 22, 2009: Brazil stayed perfect by beating the Netherlands 3-1 in the second match of the fourth day of the FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Saturday afternoon.
The Olympic champions improved to 4-0 for the week with a 25-22, 18-25, 25-20, 25-16 victory over the Dutch, who slipped to 2-2 with one game to go.
In the first set, the Dutch showed no ill-effects from their 3-0 defeat by Japan the previous evening and led 8-6 and 16-14 at the two technical timeouts (TTO).
As the set progressed, however, Brazil hit the front 19-17, prompting a Netherlands TO. Sheilla Castro opened a two-point lead at 22-20 and a Thaisa Menezes block restored this margin at 23-21 before Welissa “Sassa” Gonzaga brought up two set points at 24-22. After the Dutch had called a TO, Brazil returned for Mari Steinbrecher to block Manon Flier to close it 25-22.
The Brazilians had to play catch-up again in the second set as Kim Staelens served a sharply dipping ace to make it 10-5 to the Dutch. Although the net play of Mari, Fabiana Claudino and Thaisa dragged Brazil back into it, Flier and Francien Huurman – the latter with a mixture of power and placement – helped the Netherlands into the second TTO with a three-point advantage, 16-13.
When Brazil could make no headway through to 20-17, coach Ze Roberto called a TO. Kim Staelens blocked Sassa, who was promptly replaced, and Flier’s serve flew past Mari for 22-17. Flier served another ace – her fourth of the match -- past libero Fabi for set point, 24-17, and the Dutch captain finished it 25-18 with a back-court swoop, 1-1.
Brazil’s serve reception did not improve at the start of the third set as Ingrid Visser served two aces, but their block was on top through to 8-5 at the first TTO. The highlight was a Thaisa special on Flier that stopped the Dutch captain in her tracks.
The Dutch could not get into the third set, suffering at the net and out wide with Sassa and Sheilla in full flow. Coach Avital Selinger called a TO at 10-5 and 13-5 and they returned for Visser to block Sassa and for the Brazil attack to falter, with Mari and Sheilla both making unforced errors.
Brazil quickly rediscovered their rhythm to 16-11 at the second TTO, and weak serve reception from the Dutch allowed them to pull away to 22-14. Mari finished it 25-20 for 2-1 Brazil.
The Netherlands scored nine points on serve in the first three sets, with six for Flier, and added a couple more through Visser early in the fourth. The Dutch reception was not in top form either, though, and Fabiana’s third ace moved Brazil ahead 9-7, followed by a Sheilla block on Flier for 10-7, Dutch TO.
A combination of Thaisa’s crashing blocks, Sassa’s smooth spiking and unforced attack errors by the Dutch gave Brazil a seven-point lead at the second TTO, 16-9, and well placed to wrap this up in four sets. The net play of Fabiana and Thaisa brought victory closer, and Brazil closed it 25-16.