Itambe Minas couldn’t handle in-state rivals Dentil Praia Clube in any of their first five encounters in the 2021-2022 club season, but when it mattered the most, the Brazilian giants delivered a remarkable performance to secure their fourth Women’s Superliga on Friday.
Minas claim third consecutive Brazilian Superliga title
Macris takes home the MVP award as the Brazilian giants celebrate their fourth national victory
Published 07:32, 30 Apr 2022
Playing at the Nilson Nelson Arena, which will host matches in the Volleyball Nations League 2022 in June, the Belo Horizonte based club downed Praia 3-1 (26-24, 18-25, 25-15, 25-17) in front of more than 9,000 fans to win the Brazilian national league for a third consecutive time.
Minas had an unlikely hero in their championship winning match. The team has five Olympians and three Olympic medallists on its roster, but counted on 22 points by 22-year-old opposite, Player of the Match Kisy Nascimento to defeat Praia in Brasilia.
“Right now, I can only thank the entire team and the coaching staff for helping me so much in such an important moment,” she said after the match. “I can’t even describe how happy I am now. It was a difficult season for us, with a lot of ups and downs, but we kept working hard the entire time and it means a lot that we were rewarded with the title at the end.”
Kisy was in Minas’ lineup during the Finals because of an injury to Danielle Cuttino, who was the team’s starting opposite during most of the season. The American was one of several absences due to injury the team had to deal with during the season, with two-time Olympic middle blocker Thaisa Menezes and Turkish Olympian outside hitter Neriman Oszoy among the others.
Tokyo Olympic silver medallist Macris Carneiro, who was the Superliga MVP for the second time in her career and the best setter of the league for a seventh time, celebrated the team’s success at the end of the tournament.
“It was a season of tremendous learning for all of us,” she reflected. “We had to face a lot of adversity and we grew at the professional and personal levels with all the efforts we had to make every single day. To stand at the top of the podium at the end of such a challenging season makes us all very proud.”
Thaisa, who missed a long portion of the season due to a right leg injury, was very emotional at the end of the match. The 34-year-old veteran, who produced 20 points in the final, remembered all the difficult moments she had to go through to return on time to help Minas in the playoffs.
“I’m very grateful,” she reacted. “To be sidelined for two and a half months in a key moment of the season was brutal. Very few people know of everything I had to go through to return ready to perform in the playoffs. To end such a difficult season with a title that I think we deserved so much is just unbelievable. We stuck together and everything worked out.”
Minas had three players in the Superliga’s Dream Team in Macris, Thaisa and Oszoy, who registered 14 points in the final match, and the best coach of the season, Nicola Negro. Praia was represented by middle blocker Ana Carolina ‘Carol’ da Silva while American opposite Nia Reed (SESI Volei Bauru), Dominican Olympian outside hitter Yonkaira Pena (SESC Flamengo) and Tokyo Olympic silver medallist libero Camila Brait (Osasco Sao Cristovao Saude) completed the ideal lineup of the Brazilian league.
Both teams still have one last tournament to compete in before the end of the club season. Minas and Praia will appear in the South American Club Championship, from May 6-10, in Uberlandia, alongside Brazil’s SESI Volei Bauru, Bolivia’s San Martin, Chile’s Boston College and Peru’s Regatas Lima.
Women’s Brazilian Superliga Dream Team
Setter: Macris Carneiro (Itambe Minas)
Opposite: Nia Reed (SESI Volei Bauru)
Outside hitters: Neriman Oszoy (Itambe Minas) and Yonkaira Pena (SESC Flamengo)
Middle blockers: Thaisa Menezes (Itambe Minas) and Ana Carolina ‘Carol’ da Silva (Dentil Praia Clube)
Libero: Camila Brait (Osasco Sao Cristovao Saude)