South American Youth Girls’ Championship begins in Colombia
Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay are the six teams competing in the tournament and each country will play seven matches in the qualification round – which will take place over the first four days of competitions – in best of three sets. Brazil return to this year’s tournament as the defending champions having won the inaugural championship held in Uruguay in 2011.
Brazil and Uruguay played the debut match of the Championship at the Popayan coliseum, with the defending champions beating Uruguay 2-0 (25-8, 25-12) in 46 minutes.
The confidence of the Brazilian team, led by Ricardo Picinin, was evident during the match. Nevertheless, coach Picinin was careful not be overly optimistic saying, "There are no easy games.” “We have to stay focused. Our tradition in volleyball requires respect for opponents even though they can sometimes be intimidating.”
On the first day of competition there were a few surprises as Peru, Argentina and Colombia dominated their opponents Paraguay, Chile and Bolivia in the morning matches.
Although the match between Argentina and Chile started off close, Argentina quickly pulled ahead of the competition to finish the match 2-0 (25-18, 25-14).
In the match between Colombia and Bolivia, the home team received much encouragement from the audience motivating them to forge ahead with a good lead in the first set. The Colombians then dominated the match with their good offense and solid defense led by Valeria Alegrias and Adriana Duran. "Trust in our colleagues was essential and Popayan public support helped us to achieve victory despite some mistakes we made," said Alegrias.
It was a very even game between Peru and Chile in the first match of the afternoon. With a grandstand full of fans the two teams reached the first and second technical timeouts with tied scores. The Chilean team kept the lead but after the second technical time out the Peruvians took back the game to close with a victory.
The second game of the afternoon between Argentina and Paraguay, resulted in an easy victory for the Argentine girls, the third -ranked team in the age-group. Defending champions, Brazil returned to the court, to face Bolivia, remianing undefeated after they won the match 2-0 (25-8, 25-6).
The host team also secured their second win of the day, after beating Uruguay. Once again their appearance on the court created much excitement among the local fans and the teams excellent attack and defense helped them win the game easily.
Results for the day
Brazil vs. Uruguay - 2-0 (25-12, 25-8)
Peru vs. Paraguay- 2-0 (25-17, 25-13)
Argentina vs. Chile - 2-0 (25-18, 25-14)
Colombia vs. Bolivia - 2-0 (25-16, 25-16)
Peru vs. Chile - 2-0 (25-23, 25-17)
Argentina vs. Paraguay - 2-0 (25-9, 25-13)
Brazil vs. Bolivia - 2-0 (25-8, 25-6)
Colombia vs. Uruguay 2-0 (25-14, 25-17)