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Sada Cruzeiro celebrate their seventh national title in ten seasons in Brazil (Photo: Agencia i7/Sada Cruzeiro)

The winningest team in Brazilian volleyball history, Sada Cruzeiro Volei added another trophy to their plethoric collection on Sunday after the reigning world champions won the country’s Men’s Superliga for a record seventh time.

After two closely-contested matches to start the league’s final series against in-state rivals Fiat Gerdau Minas, Sada Cruzeiro took the third and decisive encounter in Uberlandia in straight sets (25-20, 36-34, 25-20).

The victory took Sada Cruzeiro back to the top of the Superliga podium for the first time since 2017-2018. It was also their seventh title in ten seasons (since 2011-2012). The only seasons when they were not victorious were: 2012-2013, 2018-2019 and 2020-2021.

The result also ended an incredibly prolific season for the Brazilian giants, who lifted trophies at the FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship, the South American Club Championship, the Brazilian Supercup and the Mineiro Championship. The only tournament Sada Cruzeiro didn’t take the title at this season was the Brazilian Cup, when Minas were the winners.

“Even in my best dreams, I couldn’t have imagined a season like the one we just had,” said Filipe Ferraz, who is in his first season coaching Sada Cruzeiro after several years captaining the team. “I’ve remained loyal to my philosophy and the things I believe in since my career as a player. To me, this wasn’t a job, it was a mission. This group of players is fantastic and we have been united through the good and the bad.”

The Most Valuable Player of last year’s Men’s Club World Championship, Cuban Miguel Angel Lopez added another MVP award to his collection after the 25-year-old outside hitter was picked as the best player of the 2021-2022 Superliga.

“This was an amazing season and such an important result,” Lopez commented. “It was my first Superliga final and I really wanted to win it. We were able to create a really united group with our players and coaching staff and left everything on the court every match of the season.”

With 16 points, Lopez was one of Sada Cruzeiro’s top scorers in the final alongside fellow outside hitter Rodriguinho Leao, who received the Player of the Match award. Star opposite and team captain Wallace de Souza, a Rio 2016 Olympic champion, added another 12 points for the winning side.

The top scorer of the match was Minas’ 39-year-old opposite Leandro Vissotto. A 2010 world champion with Brazil’s national team, he tallied 21 points, while outside hitter Henrique Honorato added ten.

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Sada Cruzeiro's Rodriguinho and Minas' Vissotto were the top scorers of their teams (Photo: Agencia i7/Sada Cruzeiro)

Lopez and middle blocker Isac Santos represented Sada Cruzeiro in the Superliga’s Dream Team, which also featured Minas players Honorato, William Arjona (setter), Matheus Pinta (middle blocker) and Maique Nascimento (libero), as well as Vedacit Volei Guarulhos’ Franco Paese at the opposite spot.

Men’s Brazilian Superliga Dream Team

Setter: William Arjona (Fiat Gerdau Minas)

Opposite: Franco Paese (Vedacit Volei Guarulhos)

Outside hitters: Miguel Angel Lopez (Sada Cruzeiro) and Henrique Honorato (Fiat Gerdau Minas)

Middle blockers: Isac Santos (Sada Cruzeiro) and Matheus Pinta (Fiat Gerdau Minas)

Libero: Maique Nascimento (Fiat Gerdau Minas)