Wallace lifts the trophy of the Minas Gerais State Championship (Photo: Agencia i7/Sada Cruzeiro)

In a match that reunited three Rio 2016 Olympic champions, including 2021 FIVB Volleyball Nations League MVP Wallace de Souza, Sada Cruzeiro Volei defeated Fiat Gerdau Minas 3-1 (25-21, 27-25, 24-26, 25-21) to claim their 12th-straight title of the Minas Gerais State Championship on Friday.

The silver medallists of the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship, Sada Cruzeiro have now topped the podium in each edition of the tournament since 2010. The Brazilian giants also won the title in 2008.

Wallace has two other Olympians, setter Fernando 'Cachopa' Kreling and middle blocker Isac Santos, as his teammates at Sada Cruzeiro. Their opponents in the final, Fiat Gerdau Minas had Rio 2016 Olympic champions William Arjona (setter) and Mauricio Souza (middle blocker) in their lineup, as well as London 2012 Olympic silver medallist Leandro Vissotto (opposite).

It was the first title for the 34-year-old Wallace after his return to the club, ahead of the 2021-2022 club season, and also the first victory for the team under the leadership of Filipe Ferraz. The former Sada Cruzeiro captain took over after the departure of longtime coach Marcelo Mendez, who led Argentina to win bronze at the Tokyo Olympics two months ago.

“It’s great to be back with Sada Cruzeiro and to return with a title,” Wallace, who is Sada Cruzeiro’s captain, said. “This team has been known for competing hard in every tournament and this victory is very important not only for me, but also for Filipe, who just started his career as a coach. We told him we’d give everything to reward him with the trophy. He’s just starting but is a very hard-working guy and deserves it more than anyone.”


Sada Cruzeiro players lift Filipe after his first title as a coach (Photo: Agencia i7/Sada Cruzeiro)

Filipe, who was part of Sada Cruzeiro’s victories in each of the last 11 seasons as a player, celebrated the first title of his career as a coach.

“With this being my first tournament as a coach, it was as if we were playing at the World Championship,” Filipe commented. “I think the entire team felt that way and to come out on top at the end, it feels great. After the history I built with this club as a player, it’s fantastic to start my coaching career by winning.”