MVP Lopez lifts the South American Championship trophy (Photo: Agencia i7/Sada Cruzeiro)

Three months after playing a pivotal role in Sada Cruzeiro Volei’s victory at the 2021 FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship, Miguel Angel Lopez came up big again and helped the Brazilian team win the South American Men's Club Championship for a sixth consecutive and eighth overall time on Sunday.

Sada Cruzeiro’s fourth world title MVP in December, Lopez received the same award at the South American Championship after he scored 15 points (13 kills, two aces) in his team’s straight-set (25-18, 25-17, 25-18) victory against in-state rivals Fiat Gerdau Minas in Sunday’s final in Contagem.

The result earned Sada Cruzeiro their eighth title in the last ten editions of the tournament – previous victories were in 2012, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

“I’m very happy with everything that’s been happening in my career since I joined Sada Cruzeiro,” the Cuban outside hitter commented. “Everything went really well in the World Championship and we were able to do great work now in the South American Championship too. I had high expectations coming here, but it’s fair to say things are going even better than I’d dreamed so far. Hopefully we can keep that momentum in the final portion of the Superliga.”

Rio 2016 Olympic champion opposite Wallace de Souza and outside hitter Rodriguinho Leao added ten points each for Sada Cruzeiro, while middle blocker Matheus Pinta was Minas’ top scorer with seven points.


Sada Cruzeiro's captain Wallace spikes past Minas' block (Photo: Agencia i7/Sada Cruzeiro)

After the match, Sada Cruzeiro lifted a trophy for the 43rd time since 2010. The team have appeared in finals in 52 of the 59 tournaments they have played since that year. This season alone, the club have won the World Championship, the Supercup and the Mineiro Championship.

“I think we served really well and handled their serves even better,” Wallace said. “We sided out very efficiently and that made things a lot easier for us. The fans were unbelievable and gave us a lot of energy. Minas have a great team and when we play each other, there are no favourites. I’m glad it went our way this time. Because of our history, people expect us to win every tournament we play at ,and sometimes we take it for granted. Although we’ve been very successful, it takes a lot of work behind-the-scenes to make it happen and that’s what we think of when we receive the trophies.”

Volei Renata guaranteed the first podium sweep by a country since 2008 as the team of Rio 2016 Olympic champions Lucas Saatkamp and Evandro Guerra mounted an impressive comeback to take Argentina’s Policial Voley down 3-2 (21-25, 22-25, 25-17, 25-22, 15-11) and claim bronze. Outside hitter Adriano Xavier was Volei Renata’s top scorer with 23 points (17 kills, four blocks, two aces) while opposite Rodrigo Ocampo tallied 28 (all in kills) for the Argentinean side.


Players from the three Brazilian teams formed the tournament's Dream Team (Photo: Agencia i7/Sada Cruzeiro)

Sada Cruzeiro also dominated the tournament’s Dream Team. Besides Lopez’s selection as the MVP, the team also saw setter Fernando ‘Cachopa’ Kreling, middle blocker Otavio Pinto and outside hitter Rodriguinho be selected for the ideal lineup. Minas had three players in the formation in Leandro Visotto (opposite), Edson ‘Juninho’ Paixao (middle blocker) and Maique Nascimento (libero) while Volei Renata’s Adriano (outside hitter) completed the team.