Venezuela beats Brazilian air force to claim main draw berth
On centre court at the Stella Maris sports complex in Umag, Croatia, they beat Brazil’s 1.90 metres tall Roberta Bertrand Glatt and Paola de Medeiros Santos, 1.80, in three sets (21-18 16-21 15-12) in the second and final qualification round. Gina and Lupe only measure 1.70 metres.
Serve was key to success
“It was very difficult playing such a tall team and we had never played them before. We sometimes did not even block, because it was nu use, the tallest girl did not even have to jump to hit the ball straight down. But the secret to our success was the serve”, Gina said.
The Venezuelan girls served mostly on 1.90 tall Roberta, who only started playing volleyball one year ago, and made her dig down deep. Venezuela won the first set, but Roberta and Paola came back in the second with some strong attacks. In the tiebreak the teams were equal until 9-9, but on Lupe’s service turn Venezuela took a 12-9 lead and they finished the game on their third match point.
Not used to the heat
“We had a difficult second set, lost our concentration”, Gina said. “We are not used to this kind of heat.” The temperature on centre court was around 35 to 40 degrees Celsius with no wind. Gina and Lupe come from the Andes Mountains, where it is always cold and often snowing. They are both physical education students at the Andes University in Merida, where there is a beach volleyball training centre.
The girls were not only happy to reach main draw, but also because they are the first Venezuelan team ever to beat a team from Brazil. Gina and Lupe, national champions under 23, finished ninth last year at the under 21 World Championships in Halifax.
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