Martinez, Tandara, Macris and Thaisa starred in Saquarema

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, March 27, 2021 - The 2021 FIVB Volleyball Nations League is quickly approaching and some of the players who are expected to be in the spotlight when the international tournament starts in about two months gave a small sample of what they can do at the start of the semifinals of the 2020-2021 Brazilian Women’s Superliga.


Dominican star Brayelin Martinez, who is expected to play a pivotal role for her national team during the international season, had a tremendous performance to help Dentil Praia Clube start ahead in their best-of-three series against Osasco Sao Caetano Saude. 


With 23 points from the Dominican opposite, who had 18 kills, two aces and three blocks, Praia secured a 3-2 (25-21, 19-25, 18-25, 25-17, 15-12) win against their rivals.


Star middle blocker Ana Carolina ‘Carol’ da Silva and London 2012 Olympic champion outside hitter Fernanda Garay, who are both expected to be part of Brazil’s roster during the 2021 VNL, produced 14 and 12 points respectively. The middle blocker generated half of her total in blocks and received the player of the match award.


“I’m very happy about the way we played,” the 29-year-old Carol reflected. “We all gave everything we had and we needed it because Osasco are a great team. We’ll take the next two days to rest and study their game.”


Despite Martinez’s stellar performance, the Dominican wasn’t even close to being the match’s top scorer. That’s because London 2012 Olympic champion and Brazil’s national team star opposite Tandara Caixeta carried Osasco offensively, ending the night with a 34-point mark in the loss (31 kills, two blocks and one ace). Outside hitter Gabriela Candido, who was part of Brazil’s roster during the 2019 FIVB World Cup, came off the bench to score 12.


The other semifinal, involving top-seeded Itambe Minas and SESI Volei Bauru, featured a great showing by Brazil's national team starting setter Macris Carneiro. The best setter of the 2019 edition of the VNL led Minas to a 3-1 (25-22, 24-26, 25-19, 25-17) victory in the first match between the teams.


Her great ball distribution facilitated strong performances by two-time Olympic champion middle blocker Thaisa Menezes, who scored 21 points (15 in kills, four in blocks and two aces), and by outside hitters Pri Daroit, who had 20 (15 kills, three blocks and two aces) and Megan Easy, who added 18 (16 kills, one block and one ace).  


“Playing with her makes our lives a lot easier,” Daroit, who was part of Brazil’s roster during the 2018 edition of the VNL commented. “She’s really fast and always finds the right option. This was a very important result for us and we will celebrate it, but tomorrow we need to think about the second match already. SESI have a strong team and the series is not over yet.”


SESI’s scoring load was split between outside hitter Tiffany Abreu, who produced 22 points (20 kills and two blocks) and Azeri star opposite Polina Rahimova, who scored 20 (17 kills, two blocks and one ace).


The second match of both series will be played on Sunday, March 28. If needed, a third and final match will be played on Tuesday, March 30. The semifinals and the finals of the Superliga are being held at the Brazilian Federation training facility in Saquarema, Rio de Janeiro.