Natalia and Fabiana put a wall at the net to stop Italy


Brazil started the season with a 3-1 win over Italy

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 9, 2016 - Brazil opened its 2016 World Grand Prix campaign with a victory over Italy 3-1 (23-25, 25-15, 25-15, 27-25). Pool B1 hosting team was led by Natalia Pereira and Fabiana Claudino, showing their powerful block against Italians and scoring 17 points overall in this element. Natalia was the best scorer of her team and the match.

Brazil's Natalia Pereira and Fabiana Claudino paid a key role in Brazil's victory recording five and seven kill blocks respectively. Pereira was her team's best scorer in Brazil's 25th encounter with Italy in the history of World Grand Prix. This was 21st World Grand Prix and 10th in a row victory of Brazilian over Italian team, who is yet to get its World Grand Prix gold medal. Their most recent podium finish was in 2010, when they team won bronze medal. Italy's young star Paola Egonu led the team with 15 points, but was taken off the court for the fourth set.

The Italians started with all engines working well. The 18-year old rising star Paola Egonu reigned on the European side, scored 15 points throughout the match and was responsible for the first set victory over the more experienced Brazilian squad.

As the second set started the home team switched on their blocking mode. Fabiana Claudino and Natália Pereira performed a massive wall duo that together scored 12 out of the 17 points that Brazil made in that element.

The third set repeated the story of the second one with Natalia Pereira and Fernanda Rodrigues firing strike after strike over the Italian block. As Paola Egonu starter to face some difficulties, Marco Bonitta called Valentina Diouf in. Nevertheless, the Brazilians continue to serve efficiently and Juciely Barreto scored with a block to close the set at 25-15.

After two almost flawless sets, Brazil started to commit more mistakes. The Italian wing spiker Miriam Sylla changed the odds for the Europeans, opening with four points ahead. Italians got a chance to extend the match to the tie-break when they had a set point at 24-23. But the twice Olympic gold medalist Sheilla Castro scored twice to give the South-Americans with the match point. After Valentina Diouf missed the attack, Brazil won the set and the match.

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