NATALIA’S HEROICS HELP MINAS REACH CLUB WORLDS FINAL
Shaoxing, China, December 8, 2018 – Natalia Pereira topped all scorers with 31 points to help Minas Tenis Clube reach the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship final with a 3-2 (22-25, 26-24, 25-13, 23-25, 15-12) win over two-time winners Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul on Saturday.
Natalia tallied 26 attacks, four blocks and an ace to outscore her Eczacibasi scoring rivals Tijana Boskovic (27), Kim Yeon Koung (20) and Jordan Larson (20).
Minas had an excellent scoring night with four other players having double-digit performances. Gabriela Guimaraes scored 19, Bruna Honorio Marques with 17, Carol Gattaz and Mayany Cristina Araujo had 15 and 11 points, respectively.
Kim and Boskovic’s great service and attack game helped Eczacibasi break away from the tight start in the first set. Minas managed to tie the score at 21-all, but Larson scored on a spike and block that saved the set for Eczacibasi.
Natalia started to feel her rhythm and match the intensity of her counterparts. Eczacibasi’s scoring trio – Boskovic, Kim and Larson – gave the lead in the second set, but Minas’ net defence levelled the score at 24-all. A block gave the advantage and a strong spike from Natalia gave the set winner for Minas 26-24.
Minas picked up where they left off and intimidated their rivals with tough defence and strong offence from their main hitter Natalia, this time getting help from Gabi and their other teammates. The Brazilian club gain a 2-1 set advantage at 25-13.
Eczacibasi fought hard to force the tiebreaker and succeeded with a slim margin 25-23. In the final set, Minas grabbed an early lead. The Braziians kept their lead and Gabi’s strong off-the-block spike sealed the match victory 15-12.
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