Doha, Qatar, December 15, 2010 – Brazil's Sollys Osasco earned an opening victory at the 2010 FIVB Women's World Championship in Doha, Qatar on Wednesday by beating Thailand's Federbrau in straight sets (25-15, 26-24, 30-28).
It was not an easy ride for the South Americans who struggled in the last section of the second set – when the Thais almost turned the score around by fighting back from 23-18 to 24-all – and also survived set points against in the third. Natalia was the game's top scorer with 20 points while two players – Tapaphaipun Chaisri and Pleumjit Tinkaow – registered nine apiece for Federbrau.
With a roster including some of the most accomplished and decorated Brazilian players of the past few years – such as Jaqueline, Natalia and Thaisa – Sollys Osasco have travelled to Qatar with the clear ambition of claiming the crown here at the FIVB Club World Championships. Their first opponents in Pool A, Federbrau, may lack height but, typically of an Asian team, came to Doha with a reputation as tricky opponents and very hard competitors. As it turned out, the South Americans – in orange jerseys – set the rhythm all the way through the opening set and asserted their dominance with a 25-15 victory, with Natalia and Jaqueline displaying their full repertoire to the delight of the Qatari audience.
Things got more complicated in the second set, though, as Federbrau found some momentum and even began setting the pace, reaching the First Technical Timeout (FTT) 8-6 in front. The score stayed close before the Brazilians restored their supremacy at 18-14, forcing the Thai coach, Kiattipong Radchatagriengkai, into a couple of timeouts. Federbrau closed the gap with two spikes in a row to take it to 21-18 and Sollys Osasco coach Luizomar Moura – who last year led Brazil's youth team to a gold medal at the World Championships in Thailand – called back his charges to reorganise.
The move paid off quickly with Sassa winning the next two rallies with crosscourt spikes. Natalia's ace then set up several set balls but the Brazilians duly missed three chances in a row and Moura asked for a break. Federbrau fended off the next set ball with good defence and another attack from the middle, before Natalia spiked out to make it 24-all. Sassa kept her nerve, however, as she attacked from the wing for 25-24 and Jaqueline finally closed the set with a mighty kill that the Thai receiver could not control.
Some of the fans in the Al-Garafa complex were now shouting their support for the Thai underdogs as they sought to stretch the game to a fourth set. Federbrau actually got the upper hand at the Second Technical Timeout (STT), leading 16-14, but after a long and much-disputed rally, Sollys Osasco regained the lead at 19-18. Federbrau tied at 23-all with some luck in reception and a winning serve from Tapapaiphun.
Thaisa blocked to earn match point but the Asian team battled on and tied again at 24 and 25-all. A few seconds later Sassa spiked long to give the Thais their first set ball but Onuma Sittirak also served long. The lead changed hands several times in an exciting conclusion before Natalia finished the job with a winning serve.