Brazil wins epic battle over the U.S. for gold


GATINEAU, Canada, June 18, 2011 - Brazil overcame a serious injury to star player Raphael Oliveira in the third set to defeat the United States 25-23, 21-25, 25-17, 28-26 on Saturday to win the gold medal at the Pan Am Cup men’s volleyball tournament.


Oliveira, Brazil’s powerful server, who had scored 12 points before the injury, tore his Achilles tendon and was rushed to hospital where he underwent emergency surgery.  Brazilian legend Anderson Rodrigues came in as a replacement and played a key role adding eight more points.


Paulo Silva was the top scorer for the winners with 23 points.  Robert Tarr and William Price added 17 points each for disappointed American squad.


‘’I dedicate this victory to Raphael,’’ said Anderson, a member of the 2004 Olympic champion team.  ‘’The U.S., was very hard to play against, they are very well organized.  We followed our plan but when Raphael went down we played with a lot of heart as well’’


‘’This is a great beginning to our preparations for the World Military Games,’’ said Brazil’s head coach Flavio Marinho whose troops were encouraged by a dozen local Brazilians who kept a steady samba-beat drone from the first serve to the winning shot.


‘’I’m proud of the way our guys fought, it was a really tough match,’’ said Tarr.  ‘’We had our opportunities to close it out in that fourth set and couldn’t do it.’’


Final standings: 1. Brazil, 2. United States, 3. Canada, 4. Puerto Rico, 5. Mexico, 6. Venezuela, 7. Argentina, 8. Dominican Republic, 9. Bahamas, 10. Panama.