Alan leads Sada Cruzeiro to Brazilian Cup three-peat


The 2019 FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship silver medallists Sada Cruzeiro Volei ended on the right side of a three-hour, five-set battle with EMS Taubate Funvic to secure their sixth Brazilian Cup trophy (and the third in a row) on Friday.

After triumphing at the 2014, 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2020 editions of the tournament, Sada Cruzeiro prevailed in a rollercoaster of a match to claim their sixth title. The Contagem-based side won the first two sets, but saw Taubate bounce back and tie the match. Sada Cruzeiro were stronger in the fifth set to triumph 3-2 (25-23, 28-26, 18-25, 27-29, 15-13) in a match in which only one of the five sets wasn’t won by a two-point margin.

Opposite Alan de Souza, the Most Valuable Player of the 2019 FIVB Volleyball World Cup, was a key element in Sada Cruzeiro’s title as he topped all scorers in the final with 27 points. Outside hitters Miguel Angel Lopez and Facundo Conte also had strong showings.

After the match, the 26-year-old Alan looked back to setbacks against Taubate in the finals of the Supercup and the Trofeu Super Volei earlier in the season to highlight his team’s progress.

“I believe there wasn’t a single person watching the match who expected anything different than what happened,” he reflected. “All sets were so close and Taubate have a great team, with several Brazilian national team players on their roster. For us to beat them and take the title after having lost in the last two finals, it shows we’re progressing and gives us a lot of confidence.”

The triumph gave Sada Cruzeiro their 39th title in 54 tournaments played since the club’s foundation. It was also the team’s second trophy in the 2020-2021 season following their victory in the Minas Gerais State Championship back in October 2020. Head coach Marcelo Mendez praised the efforts of his players to take the team to the top once again in Saquarema.

“This match was played at such a high level,” he commented. “Both teams were outstanding, technically and tactically. My players never gave anything less than absolutely all they had and I couldn’t be any prouder of them.”

Facundo Conte faces Taubate's double block (Photo: William Lucas/Inovafoto/CBV)

Rio 2016 Olympic champion outside hitter Mauricio Borges, who was Taubate’s top scorer in the match with 24 points, also praised his team’s efforts. Besides him, outside hitter Douglas Souza and libero Thales Hoss were among Taubate’s most efficient players in the match.

“We fought as much as we could,” he said. “This was our third five-set match in the week but we still left everything we had on the court. Unfortunately, we missed some opportunities, but we kept fighting until the last point.”

Sada Cruzeiro will now have nine days to prepare for their next match in the Brazilian Superliga against Azulim Gabarito Uberlandia on February 21. Taubate will play one day earlier, against SESI. The teams are first and second in the Superliga with 48 and 44 points, respectively.

Main Photo: William Lucas/Inovafoto/CBV

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