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Brazil drop first set but rally to beat Dominican Republic 3-1

Brazil defend against the Dominican Republic on Friday
Tokyo, Japan, November 15, 2013 – Brazil dropped their first set of the FIVB World Grand Champions Cup on Friday but rallied to overcome the Dominican Republic 3-1 (25-20, 25-15, 22-25, 25-19) at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

Brazil now has nine points from a 3-0 record while the Dominican Republic dropped to 1-2 for three points.

The Olympic champions and world's top ranked team improved their lifetime record against Dominican Republic to 15-0 in FIVB competitions.

Bethania De La Cruz of the Dominican Republic was the top scorer in the match with 21 points, while the top scorer for Brazil was Sheilla Castro with 20 points.

Natalia Pereira and Fernanda Garay each registered 13 points for the winners. Dominicans Prisilla Rivera and Gina Mambru finished with 13 and 9 points, respectively.

Brazil outblocked the Dominicans 11-7, while both teams earned three service points. The Dominicans committed 28 errors to Brazil’s 21.

Neither team got into a good rhythm early on but the Dominicans had a good three-point spurt to go two points ahead at 7-5. Despite a fine ace by Annerys Vargas, the Dominicans’ serving let them down too often. For Brazil, Fernanda Rodrigues landed some heavy hits, while Prisilla Rivera also showed her power for the Dominicans. A huge blast by Rivera pulled her team to within a point at 16-15, but from then on the Brazilians pulled away. Dominican Republic coach Marcos Kwiek called timeouts at 18-15 and 20-16 but some robust hitting by Fabiana Claudino steered Brazil into a 1-0 lead.

An ace by Walewska Oliveira helped Brazil into an early three-point lead in the second set and they stretched that to six points at 11-5 before a sharp shot from Candida Arias put the brakes on. Brenda Castillo the showed why she is one of the best liberos in the world with three sensational digs and De La Cruz landed some good hits, but it wasn’t enough to stop the Brazilians. A thumping drive by Tandara Caixeta brought up setpoint and a Fabiana shot sealed the set, putting Brazil 2-0 up.

The Dominicans dug in at the start of the third set with Gina Mambru landing a couple of big blows and they played with more confidence than in the second set while the Brazilians started to make errors. Two good serves by De La Cruz helped put the Dominicans 16-14 ahead at the second technical timeout and after a netted shot by Walweska, Brazil coach Ze Roberto called his first timeout of the match. Rivera then stretched her team’s lead to four points at 18-14 with a crisp kill. Both teams started to fight hard, but the Dominicans weren’t about to give up their lead. They were five points ahead at 23-18 after a long shot by Caixeta and earned four setpoints after a spike by De La Cruz through the Brazilian block. Brazil pulled two points back before a mixup handed the set to the Dominican Republic.

The Dominicans failed to capitalise on their good form in the third set and allowed Brazil to quickly establish a four-point lead at 6-2 in the fourth set. But then the Brazilians lost their way and two good plays by De La Cruz saw the gap narrow to one point at 8-7. Sheilla restored Brazil’s lead to four points at 12-8 with two good shots but the Dominicans kept fighting and were only a point behind at 15-14. Fernanda sent down a rocket to make it 16-14 at the second TTO and came up with a good block on Vargas that saw Brazil lead 18-14. From then on, Brazil weren’t in danger. Sheilla delivered a couple of deep spikes and she brought up matchpoint with another strong shot. A block by Natalia Pereira then sealed the match for Brazil.  


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