10 advice reception volleyball

Posts by Celso

    The OG are about to start and I remember the very 1st volleyball tournament I watched, the Atlanta OG in 1996.

    At that time, Cuba was the team to beat and I didn't have any hope of a medal until Brazil beat them in straight sets in the preliminary round. I even remember the scores (15-11, 15-10, 15-04)
    After that match we also beat Russia in straight sets (15-03, 15-11, 15-13) and Brazil's team was guaranteed as the 1st team in their pool. Unfortunately we were not able to beat the Cuban team twice and eventually lost the semifinal match in the tie-breaker (15-05, 08-15, 15-10, 13-15, 12-15) and had to play for bronze medal against Russia. The match was decided in the tie-breaker and Brazil's team eventually won (15-13, 08-15, 16-14, 04-15, 15-13).

    The Cuban team didn't start well in that tournament, they lost both to Brazil and Russia in the preliminary round and finished third in their pool. On the other pool, China finished first and it was a surprise for me that they beat Russia in the other semifinal. The match China vs Cuba decided the Gold but it was not as thrilling as the 5-set semifinal between Cuba and Brazil. It was really hard to accept that defeat, but the Cuban team was just great, more talented, more experienced, and could cope much better than Brazil with high balls.

    Four years later, in Sydney, another OG took place. At that time Cuba and Russia were by far the best teams in the world and I remember it was Gamova's first OG. If I am not mistaken, she was playing as a middle-blocker that OG, Russian OHs were Godina, Sokolova and Artamonova and they used to have two good setters Tatiana Gratcheva and Elena Vassilevskaia. That OG the USA team were a surprise, they beat China in the preliminary round and the QF match against Korea was really tough, it was decided in the tie-breaker. I remember Kerry Walsh was one of the US team OHs, and they caused lots of troubles to Russia in the semifinal match. The Russian team had to play 5 sets to advance for the final match. In fact, both semifinals were decided in the 5th set. I remember Brazil and Cuba played another thrilling match. Brazil won the 1st set and was leading the second set 16-09, but then Cuba came back and won the set 25-19, then Brazil took the third set but after that the match was completely dominated by Cuba. I remember Leila played superbly in that match and her fighting spirit was something which really drew my attention at that time. Again Cuba beat Brazil and eventually were Champions after defeating Russia in a great come back, if I'm not mistaken the score of the final match was 3-2 for Cuba and the sets were 30-32, 26-28, 25-19, 25-18, 15-07.

    WIth the arrival of the new century the volleyball scene changed a lot. The Cuban team was dismantled after its main players abandoned the team in an international tournament in 2001. The Cuban hegemony was over and two teams started to impress, first China and USA in the 2001 World Grand Prix and then Italy, in the 2002 World Championship. Russia suffered a little with the absence of Sokolova, which only joined the team in 2004 if I'm not mistaken. Brazil's team was struggling a lot and in 2002 its main players boycotted the team's head coach and only returned for the 2003 World Cup. The Athens OG were very balanced, and even after a forced renovation, the Cuban team came back strong. They have beaten China and Russia in the preliminary round, and almost beat China in the semifinal match, which was only decided in the tie-breaker. They won the Bronze Medal after beating Brazil in four sets.

    Russia and Brazil played a real battle in the semifinals, Brazil's team started really strong against Russia and gave the impression they would beat Russia in straight sets after being down 10-16, and then 17-21 in the second set. Amazingly they scored 8 points in a row and took the second set 25-21. The Russian team recovered in the match and played better the decisive points of all the other sets to win the match. They took the following sets 25-22, 28-26 and 16-14 to qualify for the Golden Medal Match. The 24-19 story is still in Brazil's NT fans memory and it hurt really bad.

    The final match was also great, Russia and China fought for every single point and the Olympic Champions was known only after five sets. After winning the first two sets 32-30 and 27-25, the Russian team was outplayed by China in the following three sets 20-25, 23-25 and 12-15. The Chinese team really deserved the OG title, for being the most regular team in the 2001-2004 Olympic Cycle. Their combination of strong and tall players with a terrific setter which made their game quick made them a difficult team to beat and that was how they play to win their second Gold Medal at the OG.

    The 2008 OG was a one-team competition. Brazil's team was by far the best team in the world at that time and it was hard to beat them. Brazil's girls reached the final match without losing a single set and they eventually beat the US team in the final match in a 4-set match. Apart from that, the Beijing OG was full of surprises, especially in Pool A. Everybody was predicting the death group would be Pool B but three out of the 4 best teams of the tournament were in Pool A. I also remember great matches in the Beijing OG. In the preliminary round China vs. Cuba, China vs. USA, Poland vs. USA and Poland vs. Japan were amazing matches. And then the most thrilling match of the tournament: Italy vs. USA in the QFs.

    Now the London OG will take place, for me the US team are the team to beat. I heard people saying Berg suffered some injury which will make the US team Gold Medal quest more dramatic, but even so they are the favorites for winning the Gold Medal. Other teams have their own dramas, like Serbia, Russia, Italy, Brazil and Turkey. All of them will try to overcome their limits for the Golden Medal and I am pretty sure no matter who wins it, what will stay in our memories will be each battle, each fight and each drama every teams and players will have to face in order to become champions.

    I am getting anxious already! I barely can wait for the beginning of the Women's Volleyball Tournament of the London OG.

    It just occurred to me that Natalia might be ok already. Bringing Camila Brait was just a strategy of Brazil's team coaching staff. In case the 13th player is needed she will already be in London practising with the team, they don't have to wait for her arrival without having time to get used to the London timezone and so on. In 2008 that happened to Brazil's beach volleyball team, Ana Paula had to go to Beijing to play with Larissa and she arrived at the nick of the time and very tired. The men's team is doing the same thing. They are bringing 13 players to London as well.

    It seems to me that Brazil's team is maybe trying to hide that Natalia will be in London creating this doubt about her condition with the hope of trying to surprise their opponents. It makes no sense to bring Natalia if she is not playing better than Mari and Sassá at least.

    As for the USA team, they have to deal with the pressure and responsibility of their favoritism. I think they are ready and prepared for that, but the pressure for the first Gold Medal in the OG may somehow be an issue for them.

    What doesn't make any sense at all to me is that if he wants an outside hitter instead of a libero, why dropping Mari off? Camila Brait is a libero, she can't attack or block. The same happens to Sassá she is a rather short player and always is substituted when she is in the net. Then why dropping Mari off before Camila Brait and Sassá?

    Natalia runs the risk of being seriously injured in the OG cause she is lacking rhythm and will start playing in a high-level competition without having time to warm-up.

    It was like in 2006 when Zé Roberto decided to take Paula only three months after she gave birth to her daughter and she only played against Kenya in the preliminary round. It would have been much wiser to leave a three-month old baby with her mom.

    The point was arrogance and ego. In 2007, Cuba silenced the entire Maracanazinho stadium and took the win coming back from being down and Ze Roberto ran around like a little child complaining to the referee. Fast forward to 2011, Cuba is no where in the form or have the players that they did the previous quadrennial. Brazil's players and coaching staff know that. In order to prove that they are "better" than their 2007 loss they send their A team to play a tournament that means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. It's a short sighted goal and Brazil went on to perform poorly at the tournament that mattered most the World Cup.

    I don't think the point was arrogance, cause previously in the WGP we had beaten Cuba in straight sets 25-12, 25-14, 25-15 if I'm not mistaken. The Cuban team would be pretty much the same in the Pan Am Games.

    Anyway, it had a lot to do with ego. Bernardinho and Zé Roberto are declared enemies and bringing a B team to the Pan Am Games would imply in having to release Unilever players to play the Clubs World Championship and under the excuse of needing to have the complete group for the World Cup, Zé Roberto decided to take the A team for the Pan Am Games and the result of that choice is what we are seeing now.

    I agree with you about not sending the main players to the Pan Am games, but the thing is that in 2007 we lost the final match to Cuba in a very, very dramatic way. We had 2x1 and lost the 4th set but could have won, and we had chance to win the tie break too. The worst part was that the Pan Am games were AT HOME at that time, so they kind of "needed" this gold medal...

    Iuri, this is what I am talking about, prioritizing!

    With all due respect to the Pan Am Games, there's no need to bring the A team. What's the point of winning Gold in the Pan Am Games and playing the OG with a team full of injured players and out of its best form? The NT calendar is heavy-going and Brazil's coaching staff should have given a break to the main players in competitions way less important than the OG.

    Unfortunately we have good results in the Medal ranking only in the Pan Am Games, in the OG we have never won more than 3 Gold Medals and it seems we are not winning any at all in indoor volleyball.

    There are two possibilities for Brazil's team roster:
    Zé Roberto's #1 option:

    S: Dani Lins - Fernandinha
    OPP: Sheilla - Tandara
    OH: Fernanda Garay - Jaqueline - Natália - Paula Pequeno
    MB: Adenízia - Fabiana - Thaísa
    L: Fabi


    Zé Roberto's #2 option:

    S: Dani Lins - Fernandinha
    OPP: Sheilla - Tandara
    OH: Fernanda Garay - Jaqueline - Paula Pequeno
    MB: Adenízia - Fabiana - Thaísa
    L: Camila Brait - Fabi

    If I were the coach I would chose:

    S: Fabiola - Fernandinha
    OPP: Sheilla - Tandara
    OH: Fernanda Garay - Jaqueline - Paula Pequeno - Marianne Steinbrecher
    MB: Adenízia - Fabiana - Thaísa
    L: Camila Brait

    Taking Fabi and Natalia is just a bad taste joke! The chosen players should be Camila Brait and Sassá.

    Zé Roberto is taking Natália because of her ability to score points in attack and her subs are two players which are specialist in defending?
    Why not keeping Mari in the team then in case Natalia doesn't recover?

    Such a choice has no logic at all.

    I feel really sad for Camila Brait, she's a great player, her form is much better than Fabi's.

    It will be sad to see Brazil's team losing to Russia, Italy or USA with service mistakes made by our libero.

    In terms of planning, Zé Roberto and Brazil's coaching staff need to improve a lot. It is just ridiculous what happened to Brazil's team this Olympic cycle.

    1) First of all, in 2009 he didn't intend to have Fabiola as the setter of Brazil's team and then, in 2010, she becomes the main setter of Brazil in the World Championship.
    The same happens to Fernandinha, why both of these players were not in the roster since 2009? I remember that in the 2009 World Champions Cup Ana Tiemi was the main setter of Brazil's team.

    2) Playing with the main players in the 2010 World Grand Prix final round was pretty stupid, the team lost both Paula and Mári for the World Championship and they could have helped Brazil in the World Championship if they didn't get injured. The team was not as strong as it could be because of injury problems which occurred just a few months before the World Championship.

    3) In 2011, he decided to call the main team to play the Pan Am Games. Jaqueline suffered a terrible injury and Fernanda Garay got injured as well. Having to play just a few weeks before the World Cup instead of training and trying to improve caused Brazil's team lots of problems in the World Cup, and that is why the team was not able to qualify for the London OG already in this tournament. Lots of injuries and players out of their best form.

    4) Because of that, instead of practicing and trying to improve as a team, Brazil's team had to waste time playing against weak teams in the South American Qualification Tournament, which didn't help the team at all in its preparation to the London OG. Now, instead of getting ready for the London OG, the team is still defining which players to bring. Some players are practicing and won't play the OG, this is waste of tine in the team preparation and fine tuning for London. What's more, with a new setter in the starting six which didn't even have the chance of playing against the best teams in the World. If Brazil's team plays against Russia in the OG, it will be Fernandinha's first match ever against such a strong team.

    In my opinion, the US team is by far the favourites for winning the Gold Medal in the London OG. If Brazil's team could play well enough to try to level the match against USA it will be a good thing already. I don't expect anything better than a Silver Medal, that will be too good already. At least considering the way Brazil's team prepared for the OG.

    As regards Brazil's team roster, I think Juciely had no chance of remaining among the who are embarking to London. Thaísa, Fabiana and Adenízia are way better than her. Fabiola being dismissed was a sort of surprise for me. I didnt expect that, but against USA she didnt play well in any of the matches. On the other hand, whenever Fernandinha entered the court, Brazils team played well and even being short, she was able to score block points against every team in the final round of the WGP.

    It seems to me that Fabiola is more daring than Dani Lins, and also a little stubborn, and Zé Roberto wants a setter which follows his instructions more than Fabiola does. It seems to me that Fabiola's sets to position 2 are her weak point, and this ball is very important for Brazil's team.

    As for the other players, I have no idea at all of who's being dismissed. After Brazils NT arrival, Zé Roberto said in an interview that he will wait for Natália until the last minute. Sassá also has chances of going to London, cause Brazils team needs to improve a lot in service reception.

    The setter position is already defined: Fernandinha will be the starter and Dani Lins the back-up setter
    MB position is also defined: Thaísa, Fabiana and Adenizia will be in Brazils NT roster.

    I think Zé Roberto decided to define the setter and MB position in order to practise a lot the plays with MBs, in my opinion, he wants e fine adjustment for this play and with fewer players for this positions, they can practise more in the training sessions.

    There are seven spots left and it is hard to make any prediction cause Zé Roberto may choose to take one or two liberos.

    Zé Roberto always says that he wants versatile players in the team. I tend to believe that Sassá (who can play as a libero or OH), Mári and Tandara (who can play as OH or OPP) have chances os staying in the team for this reason. If he decides to call only one libero, I have no idea about whos being dropped out. I think Camila Brait is better than Fabi, but Zé Roberto seems to like Fabi better than Camila.

    I think Jaqueline, Paula and Garay are garanteed. The fourth spot as OH will be decided between Mári, Tandara and Sassá.
    Sheilla's substitute will be either Tandara or Mári and even thinking that Tandara is playing better than Mári, it seems that Zé Roberto prefers Mári.

    I have this feeling that Sheilla, Fernandinha, Dani Lins, Fabiana, Thaísa, Adenízia, Jaqueline, Paula and Garay are garanteed in Brazils NT for the OG. The other three spots can be the following:

    OH: Sassá, Natália, Mári and Tandara can play in this position;
    OPP: Natália, Mári and Tandara can play in this position;
    Libero: Camila Brait, Fabi and Sassá can play in this position;

    Congrats to Poland! They are playing a great volleyball!

    I hope they could keep on improving to reach their peak at the London OG.
    They are definitely one of the favorite teams for winning the golden medal in the OG.

    It is nice to see the Polish fans supporting their team. Great ambience in the audience,

    Congrats to Poland for the Golden Medal. They really merited being 1st in the OG.

    Now we have to root for China against USA. But it seems the Chinese team is not playing its best volleyball.
    It is more likely that we are having our third Silver Medal in a row.

    Id like to see Adenizia on court but it seems Zé Roberto prefers Fabiana. I think Adenizia is playing better than Fabiana, especially in service and attacks.

    I think if Brazils team reception works well, if our girls don't commit mistakes, and in the team doesn't waste counter-attacks, we can beat every opponent in this final round. If we could win our matches in less than 5 sets, then we can win our 9th title.

    Brazil's schedule for final round couldn't be worse.

    I hope we could show some improvement in the final round of the WGP. We need to improve in every aspect of the game, especially service reception and counter-attacks.

    In my opinion, Brazil's team has conditions of beating every team in the final round, but they are not favourites, if we lose or play a 5-set match, it won't be a surprise at all.

    USA, China, Turkey and Thailand are already qualified for the WGP Final Round.

    There are two spots left and 4 teams are fighting for them: Brazil, Cuba, Germany and Poland are the only teams with chances of qualifying for the final round.

    Cuba's situation is the most comfortable in my opinion. They only depend on themselves and they are facing an opponent which shouldn't resist much tomorrow. It seems Cuba will beat Puerto Rico in straight sets and qualify for the final round with 19 points. So, in practice, we have 5 teams qualified and Brazil, Germany and Poland will fight for the last spot in the final round.

    Brazil's team also depends on itself, but they are facing a much tougher opponent. Both Brazil and China had a similar performance against Cuba and it seems it will be a very balanced match. Brazil's team can afford to lose a set if they intend to qualify. I don't know if the number of victories is the first criterium for ranking teams with the same amount of points, if that's the case, then Brazil's team can qualify with their favourite result so far: a victory in the tiebreaker.

    Germany's team have to beat Turkey and also root for a combination of results. I think the German team can beat Turkey, they are performing pretty decently in this WGP, and it seems their work tends to be even easier, cause I heard rumours Turkey will play this match with its bench players. Poland will play against Italy, I think they can beat Italy in 3 or 4 sets and they will be motivated to do that. I think anything can happen in the match against Brazil and China. As for the other matches, I really believe Germany and Poland will beat their opponents tomorrow. So we'll have to wait until the end of the last match of the day to see which team will grab the last spot for the final round.

    Is Natália healthy enough to play at least in one match? Otherwise I think that taking her to China is nonsense.

    If Natália plays any game in the 3rd round of the WGP it will be like Gabi did in the 1st week or Priscila did in the second week, enter to serve and help in defense replacing probably Fabiana or Paula Pequeno. It's a pity that Natália had this problem in her knee, if she were at the top of her physical form, she would be a key player in London.

    I think Natália won't play in London, unfortunately.

    I've been thinking and it seems Brazil's team roster for London will be:

    S: Fabíola, Fernandinha
    OPP: Sheilla, Mári, Tandara
    OH: Fê Garay, Jaqueline, Paula Pequeno
    MB: Adenízia, Fabiana, Thaísa
    L: Camila Brait

    Brazil's team needs to improve in reception and in the defensive system. The improvement in attacks and counter-attacks is a consequence of that.
    The team is serving pretty decently but there's always room for improvement. There are 39 or 38 days for the OG and I think we are running out of time.

    Unfortunately we have 5 players injured: Paula in the elbow, Mari in the hand, Natália has a surgered leg, Garay in the arm and Sassá in the ankle.

    I only hope we could play our best volleyball, if we have to lose, it's ok, but at least we did everything we could.

    I went to the São Bernardo do Campo gymnasium and watched all the matches of the WGP except for Germany vs. Italy. I got really impressed with the German team, they played really well against Brazil in the 1st and 4th sets and the match almost wen to the 5th set. Against USA they played well too and caused a lot of trouble for the Americans, the first two sets ended 25-23 for USA and Germany lost on details. In the third set I think they were mentally exhausted and were not confident enough to keep the same level of playing of the first two sets. Against Italy it seems they were able to show all their potential. I believe that with Kozuch on court against Brazil we would have suffered a lot more than we did to beat them.

    The Italian team impressed me a lot in the first set against USA, they were leading the 1st set and playing well until 22-19, but they eventually lost. Piccinini and Bosetti really impressed me and I didn't like Ortolani and Rondon's performances. Against Brazil Italy were smart enough two exploit Brazils technical and tactical problems and they just demolished Brazil's team in the 2nd set. They were leading 24-20 in the first set but eventually lost. I think luck was on Brazil's side in that match. Even so, I don't think any team played well this match.

    The US girls are in great shape and what's more is that they somehow find a way of playing better set after set. All the first sets they struggled. 27-25 against Italy, 25-23 against Germany and 20-25 against Brazil. It seems they are responding tactically to what happened int he first set and are being able to improve their tactics as the match unfolds. I didn't know Harmotto and this girl really impressed me. Larson is also in great shape. I think the US team is beatable cause even unstable Brazil could cause them trouble, but I think it will be really hard to beat them.

    As for Brazil's team, I think the fact of having played without the so-called stars have caused trouble for the team cause they lacked rhythm in the second week of the WGP. The vast majority of teams were already in the competition and Brazil's team made its debut this weekend. I also think Zé Roberto was unfortunate in his choice of players.

    Fabiana was a big disappointment, she wasn't able to serve well in the last two years and now she can't even block anymore. I don't blame her for her poor performances in attack cause with Fabi in reception and Fabiola setting it's really hard for her to score in attack. Adenizia is playing a lot better than her and unfortunately she hasn't been given much opportunity of showing her value this weekend.

    Paula's having ups and downs. She has a problem with her elbow and against USA she played a lot better than Jaqueline. It seems her services are improving too, but I don't know if she will be able to regain her 2008 form.

    Thaísa played pretty decently and definitely merits to be one of the starters. I think she is sometimes slow in lateral displacement when she is in the net, but she's our best MB.

    Jaqueline was a big disappointment, especially in the match against USA. I expected a lot more from her and right now I think the only Outside Hitter which impressed me was Fernanda Garay. She merits to be a starter.

    Fabiola's serves were good. I think that's all the good things I can say about her. Her settings were not precise and her distribution was not wise. I keep my fingers crossed for her, Dani Lins and Fernandinha, cause all of them are having ups and downs and we are lacking good, precise, fast and consisting sets. In counter-attacks our settings are just a joke, the team defends the ball but is not able to organize the counter-attack, our players, especially the outside hitters and the opposite, are not balanced or ready to counter-attack powerfully and quickly.

    Sheilla played well against Italy and Germany, and I also think she played pretty decently against USA. The problem was not really her but Brazil's sets, reception and defense. Mári had ups and downs and wasted some points too, so I think Tandara is in the fight for a spot as opposite, cause she impressed me more than Mári and Sheilla last weekend.

    Finally, the libero. It goes without saying that Brait is playing a lot better than Fabi. I think Zé Roberto's strategy was stupid concerning the libbers. He should've inverted roles, Brait was supposed to receive USA's serves and Fabi was supposed to defend the balls. I believe Brait is playing a lot better than Fabi, especially in service reception and she really deserves to be our main libero.

    I think Brazil's team ideal team would be: Garay, Natália, Tandara, Fernandinha, Adenízia, Thaísa and Camila Brait. Unfortunately Natália couldn't play last season and she seems to be out of Brazil's team roster, then our ideal team should be Garay, Paula or Jaqueline, Tandara, Fernandinha, Adenízia, Thaísa and Camila Brait.

    The other players would be: Mari, Sheilla, Fabiana and Fabiola or Dani Lins.