Eboli, Italy, June 12, 2018 – Tandara Caixeta had to come back onto court to help Brazil pull off a 3-1 (25-15, 25-14, 21-25, 25-23) win over Belgium in Eboli on Tuesday and make the final push towards qualifying for the finals of the FIVB Volleyball Nations League.
Despite sitting out the third set, Tandara top scored 14 points for Brazil and many of them proved crucial for the victory, especially in set 4.
Brazil’s setter Roberta Silva Ratzke managed her team’s offensive efforts well to produce a well spread out distribution of the spiking points. Two more Brazilian players went into the double digits. Amanda Francisco and Ana Beatriz Correa finished with 11 points each.
Britt Herbots showed a phenomenal performance on the other side of the net. She managed to put Brazil into all sorts of trouble and scored 21 times for Belgium to top the charts of the match.
Brazil clearly dominated the first two sets and seemed to be cruising towards an easy three-set victory. Tandara had scored seven attacking points when coach Jose Roberto Lages Guimaraes decided to give her some rest in the third set. With Herbots firing away eight points in that set alone, Belgium struck back, but prompted a return of Tandara for the fourth. A titanic duel between the two unfolded with Brazil emerging victorious with a ticket to the Final Six in China.
Tandara made sure her return to the court had an immediate impact at the beginning of the fourth set, scoring her side’s first two points and a total of four on the way to a 7-5 lead. A couple of fantastic pipe shots by Herbots, followed by her 88.6 km/h spike kept Belgium’s hopes alive. In a key moment of the set Tandara kill-blocked Herbots for 15-11 and did it again, together with Ana Beatriz, for 16-11. Immediately after the break she hammered the ball for a 17-11 lead and seconds later scored from the serving line to extend it to a 20-13 advantage.
Even this did not make the Belgians wave the white flag. They fought back bravely to narrow the gap down to 22-19, but then Tandara fired a couple of balls from the back row off the opponents’ block to bring up four match points for Brazil. The Europeans managed to deny the first three, but on the fourth Tandara, again, made sure a very long rally ended Brazil’s way and finished the match off with a successful spike.