Ana Moser was one of the most powerful, brave and talented players the international volleyball arena witnessed in 1980’s and 1990’s. Her endless energy on the court and her ability to bring her teammates together focused on one goal till the last point were more than sufficient to turn herself and Brazil into a grand nightmare in the eyes of their opponents. Ana Beatriz Moser was born in August 14, 1968 in Brazil.
World Champion at 19
Moser’s step into the international arena started only when she was 15 in 1983 in Junior Women South American Championship. After having played in her team as the main spiker in the same tournament that brought them the gold medal in 1983 and 1984, Moser stated that her faith in her team was not futile following the floods of criticism emerged in Brazilian media as a response to the silver medals in 1985 and 1986. As a matter of fact, Brazil, with this young team that will be the major candidate for all of the gold medals in top-tier senior tournaments in a few years of time, won back to back Junior World Championship titles in ’87 and ’89. While Ana Moser was awarded the “Most Valuable Player” in 1987, she could not participate in the championship since she exceeded the age limit. Yet in the ’89 final, this Brazil-Cuba final, which with the promotion of this generation to senior level will later turn the finals of senior level tournaments into a splendid rivalry in the 90’s, ended with the victory of Brazil thanks to a perfect play by Mercie Fu and Fernanda, who would be the milestone of the superstar Brazilians.
Success in the international arena
As of 1988, Ana Moser started to train with the senior team and attract attention as the youngest and most promising player of the experienced Brazilian squad. Unfortunately, 1988 Seoul Olympics have been utterly frustrating both for Moser and Brazilian volleyball since they barely clinched the 6th spot. Moreover, the disappointment went on as the team again failed in South American Championship in ’89 although Moser was highly successful even in the handful of minutes she was given a chance to play by her then-coach Inaldo Mantana preventing her from making the awaited breakthrough. Everything finally began to work out fine for both Moser and Brazil in Good Will Games in Seattle in 1990. Brazil swept the one of the best teams of the world and probably the best of South America on the court to claim the bronze medal. Ana Moser continued to display the same performance in China the same year and was awarded the “Best Spiker” in World Championship. On the other hand, 1991 South American Championship brought Moser the MVP and “Best Spiker” awards and she became one of the most important players that led Brazil to silver medal in Pan American Games.
Brazil’s convincing win over defending silver medalist Peru in 1992 Barcelona Olympics Preliminary Qualifications drew all the attention to Moser and Co. before their Spain campaign. Nevertheless, Cuba that boycotted the 1988 Olympics was the unquestionable favorite in the impending tournament. Although they lost to Cuba by 3-1 in the pools, they managed to qualify to semis. However, they suffered two back-to-back losses from the Soviet Union and the USA, respectively and hence failing to claim a medal again. Still, Ana Moser’s “Best Serve” award helped the world focus on this young talented woman despite her team’s shocking two ugly losses in a row.
Immortal rivalry: Brazil vs. Cuba – Ana Moser vs. Regla Torres
Ana Moser’s knee injury following Barcelona kept her away from the court in 1993. When she was back, Ana Moser-fueled Brazil won the World Grand Prix by beating their greatest opponent Cuba. Another important theme of 1994 for Brazil was the fact that they were hosting World Championship that year. The final was a showdown between Brazil and Cuba as expected and Brazil wanted to repeat World Grand Prix final. However, Cuba did not even drop a set during the whole championship and they beat Brazil as easily as ever to reach the glory.
Later, Moser was again plagued with injuries. Still, she was in the 1995 World Cup roster. Although Brazil again lost to Cuba in the final, Moser’s play was illuminating. 1996 Atlanta Olympics started amazingly well for the Brazilian women. They defeated their two big rivals in straight sets in pools and the whole world volleyball community suddenly converged on the idea that this was finally Brazil’s time. Yet, their opponent in the semi finals was Cuba who was filled with desires of revenge. Cuba turned their will power to a fruitful play and defeated Brazil in tight 5 sets. After the end of the match Moser thinking that victory celebrations of Regla Torres, Regla Bell and Mireya Luis were over the line went straight to the net and shouted as “Respect”, which was the flame that put things out of control. Even though this quarrel melted down in a few minutes, this type of fight between Ana Moser and Regla Torres would assume a classic role in a short period of time. Brazil later closed out the ’96 Olympics with a bronze medal surpassing Russia in the match that would determine the podium team.
World Grand Prix that was slated after a few months following the Olympics was crucial for Brazil to at least forget the misery of Atlanta. This time Brazil was on the winning side against Cuba in the semi finals. This time, it was Regla Torres who ran across the Brazilian side searching for someone to punch in the face. This clash lasted much longer and turned out to be more dangerous than the one in Olympics. Later FIVB put the players of both teams, which dominated the world volleyball for more than a decade, under harsh punishments due to their unsportmanslike conduct. Ana Moser’s old success would slowly fade into a dusty picture.
Back-to-back losses despite a flawless play before goodbye
Having dealt with immense injuries until 1998, Ana Moser took part in the World Championship roster that year and displayed one of the best games of her career. Even when they lost to Cuba in the semis and to Russia in the bronze medal game, she was the best scorer and most zealous of her team. The bronze at 1999 World Grand Prix was Ana Moser’s last medal in her last tournament. Since she wanted to become the only woman in history who played in four Olympic Games, playing in 2000 Sydney Olympics was her last goal. That’s why she was a part of the ’99 World Cup roster; nonetheless, her knee completely gave in before the tournament and she also had to give in despite her eternal love for Olympic Games.
Today Ana Moser is spending huge sums of effort to extend volleyball’s reach to children by the help of Sports and Education Institute, a foundation she set up. Lastly, in 2009 Moser was entitled to be included in the Hall of Fame of Volleyball, which was a feat formerly accomplished only by three of her fellow Brazilian players. Although Ana Moser has never reached that Olympic gold medal she longed for and even though her career has been sidelined by injuries from time to time, today in the minds of volleyball lovers she is still the leading spiker in her team encouraging her teammates to keep fighting even when they are two sets down, which explains how she has dominated the world volleyball in 1990’s.