FM WU18 ARGvsBRA (29)

The second day of competition of the Pool D of the 2021 FIVB Volleyball Girls’ World Championship featured a pair of continental derbies and Brazil and Russia needed no more than three sets each to come out on top of their duels against Argentina and Bulgaria at the Auditorio del Pueblo, in Durango, Mexico.

The two teams will meet on Wednesday, the third day of competition in Mexico, while Bulgaria will play another all-European match, this time against Slovakia, who were off on Tuesday.

The last team of Pool D to make its debut, Brazil had a positive start in the tournament, topping continental rivals Argentina. It was a closely-contested match and the biggest margin for the Brazilians was earned in the number of mistakes (33-23) as the winners had just a slight advantage in kills (30-27), blocks (8-7) and aces (4-3).

Captain Aline Maestri led Brazil’s scoring efforts with 14 points (ten kills, two aces, two blocks), followed by fellow outside hitter Nicole Oliveira, with nine. Outside hitter Nicole Perez was Argentina’s top scorer for a second-straight match with 12 points (ten kills, one block, one ace).

“It was really cool to play in front of the fans here,” Aline commented. “It was a great first match for us. Argentina played a very good game but I think we were better and deserved to win. We did a really good job in helping each other in the most difficult moments and that was one of the keys for us. Starting on the right foot is amazing, but we know there’s a lot more to come.”

Russia had another dominant performance to secure its second victory in the tournament. The reigning European champions outscored their Bulgarian opponents in every skill, including kills (36-24), blocks (11-2) and aces (5-0).

Bulgarians and Russians battle at the net

Bulgarians and Russians battle at the net

Setter Viktoriia Kobzar did a great job with her distribution and saw all of middle blocker Natalia Suvorova (11), opposite Alina Popova (11) and outside hitters Anastasiia Kapralova (12) and Daria Zamanskaia (10) score in double digits. Opposite Iva Dudova was the only to do the same on the Bulgarian side with 11 points.

“We played a good match,” Suvorova analyzed. “We tried to do our best and avoid mistakes. We’re here to win every match and we’re still going to get better as the tournament moves forward. We work hard in every element of the game, especially blocking and serving, and I’m glad these two skills are working for us. Brazil is a strong opponent and I expect a good game against them.”