Ismailia, Egypt, September 14, 2019 - Brazil held off China's attempt at a comeback and with a 3-1 (25-18, 25-18, 22-25, 27-25) are back amongst the global elite with the bronze medal of the 2019 FIVB Girls' U18 World Championship, here on Saturday evening.
The medal comes after poor 11th and 10th place finishes in the last two editions of the World Championships and sees Brazil make the podium again after six years of drought.
Hugs all over and leaps of joy on the Brazil court right at the finish of the match against China for the bronze medal of 2019 FIVB Girls' U18 World Championship in Ismailia against China.
Brazil immediately made it clear how this would play out, quickly taking a 5-1 lead in the first set. Although China pulled level at 7-7, the South Americans were one ahead at the first techincal timeout and with captain Stephany Gomes serving back-to-back aces embarked on a 5-0 run and built on that through to the end.
Brazil again opened up a gap of five by 13-8 and carried on with some exceptional defending, especially by libero Leticia Araujo, to widen that lead and extend their overall lead.
Ana Cristina Menezes, brilliant on the net and in the back row, controls the ball in the bronze medal match of the 2019 FIVB Girls' U18 World Championship in Ismailia against China.
China weren't quite yet letting go of this, though. They kept a steady lead throughout the third set - just enough to see them extend the game into a fourth.
Brazil were back in the game in a flash, blocking and digging like there was no tomorrow and by the first technical in the fourth they were already five points ahead. But China were still not giving up. They rallied and even went ahead themselves by two at the second technical time. It was once again Marcelle Arruda who came on off the bench to serve two back-to-back aces that brough Brazil back in the game.
The teams exchanged sideouts and slim leads till the very end. China, in fact had a shot at forcing a tie-break, but blew their only set point when Xia Sijia served on the net.
A quick sideout followed by a monster block by Katia Machado (one of her only two in the whole game) on Zhou Yetong brought advantage to Brazil again, and on their second attempt to bring it home Ana Cristina served an amazing ace to send the Brazilians into ecstasy.
China's Wu Mengjie gets blocked by Brazil's Julia Kudiess and Maria Clara Carvalhaes in the bronze medal match of the 2019 FIVB Girls' U18 World Championship in Ismailia.
With a match high total of 23 points of which four were aces (but also some exceptional back court action), Ana Cristina was Brazil's leading force. Zhou Yetong was China's best scorer on 17 points.
Quick links - Volleyball:
FIVB Volleyball Girls' U18 World Championship