The reformed Rexona-Sesc Rio started their club season with a rousing fifth place finish in the 2016 FIVB Women’s Club World Champioships, upending Japanese club Hisamitsu Springs in the final match, 20-25, 25-22, 25-15, 30-32, 15-7 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Rexona overcame an error-filled first set to control the next two frames via controlling the net. A tight fourth set had Rexona reach set point seven times in a tight deuce. Hisamitsu, however, managed to inch ahead thanks to a Rika Nomoto ace then a Risa Shinnabe hit out that forced a decider.
The Brazilan then sprinted to the finish line, stopping Japan’s attacks and taking an insurmountable 12-5 lead.
Rexona tallied 21 block kills to Hisamitsu’s six, spelling the difference in the match.
“I thought that was big for us – to establish our block and get a read on Japan’s fast plays. We had a lot of lapses in the two sets we lost but I like the way my team finished the match with intensity,” said Rexona head coach Bernardo Rezende.
“This a very young team I have and we’re just at the start of the season. We can still get better and coming away from a stacked tournament like this with fifth place will surely boost our confidence,” added Rezende, who led the Brazil Men’s volleyball team to gold in the 2016 Olympics.
Monique Marinho led all scorers with 21 points. Juciely Barreto added 20, while Gabi Guimaraes followed with 15.
Hisamitsu, who will host next year’s WCWC, pulled 19 points from Risa Shinnabe, and 18-point outings from Miyu Nagaoka and Yuki Ishii.
Rexona-Sesc (3) – Marinho 21, Barreto 20, Bujis 16, Guimaraes 15, Da Silva C. 12, Rotzka 4, Pereira 2, Adao 0, Felix 0, Oliveira (L)
Hisamitsu Springs (2) – Shinnabe 19, Nagaoka 18, Ishii 18, Iwasaka 9, Tokarska 7, Nomoto 4, Nakaoji 1, Ishibashi 0, Koto 0, Tsutsui (L)