Dominican star Brayelin Martinez delivered 24 points against Minas (Photo: Orlando Bento/MTC)

Tokyo Olympians Brayelin Martinez and Ana Carolina ‘Carol’ da Silva propelled Dentil Praia Clube to their fourth victory over rivals Itambe Minas when the teams met on Friday in the 2021-2022 Brazilian Superliga.

Unlike the previous three meetings, when Praia secured comfortable victories to win the Mineiro Championship, the Brazilian Supercup and the South American Championship, this time the Uberlandia-based club had to grind to pull off a five-set win (25-16, 25-11, 20-25, 23-25, 15-8) at a sold-out Arena Minas.

The Dominican Republic’s starting opposite in Tokyo, the 25-year-old Martinez came up big for Praia, delivering 24 points (all in kills) in the match. A Tokyo silver medallist with Brazil, Carol dominated the match with 18 points (half of them in blocks), while fellow middle blocker and Olympian Jineiry Martinez added 13 (eight kills and five blocks).

Setter Claudinha Bueno was awarded as the Player of the Match.

“I think the lesson we learned tonight is that we have to remain aggressive the entire time,” she said. “Minas have a great team and we struggled when we slowed down a little bit. Once we got back to doing what we had originally planned, we got the game back in control. It’s great that we had the strength to recover after losing two sets, but we have to learn the lesson so it doesn’t happen again.”


Claudinha's ball distribution was one of the keys of Praia's triumph (Photo: Orlando Bento/MTC)

Turkish outside hitter Neriman Oszoy had arguably her best performance since joining Minas ahead of the season and left the court with 20 points (19 kills, one ace). Minas’ 21-year-old opposite Kisy Nascimento tallied 16 (15 kills, one block).

The fourth victory over rivals Minas made Praia the only undefeated team in the Superliga. The team coached by Paulo Coco top the standings with six wins, followed by Minas with five positive results.

Both teams still have a few more matches to play in the Superliga before they head to Ankara, Turkey, to compete at the 2021 FIVB Women’s Club World Championship from December 15-19.

The squads return to the courts on Tuesday, when Praia host Unilife Maringa and Minas go on the road against Curitiba Volei.