The Dominican Republic opposite scored 34 four and maintained Praia Clube at the top of the standings
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, February 15, 2020 – Dentil Praia Clube entered the match against SESC RJ on Friday at risk of losing the top spot of the Brazilian Superliga, but Dominican star Brayelin Martínez came up big and delivered the team a come-from-behind 3-1 (31-33, 25-17, 25-19, 31-29) victory in Rio de Janeiro.
The 23-year-old opposite exploded for 34 points and led Praia Clube to an impressive comeback against SESC, avenging the team’s setback to their national rivals in the Brazilian Cup final at the beginning of February. She found the opposition's court in 31 of her 57 spiking attempts and added three blocking points to her total.
Martínez, who’s in her first season with the Brazilian club, is used to the protagonist role at the international level too as she was the top scorer of the NORCECA Women's Tokyo Volleyball Qualification tournament in January and the fourth-best scorer of last year’s FIVB Volleyball Nations League with the Dominican national team that will compete at this year’s Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
She was also the fifth-best scorer at the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship in China, her first international tournament with Praia Clube.
Against SESC, the Dominican star had help from London 2012 Olympic champion outside hitter Fernanda Garay, who added 23 points and was voted the Most Valuable Player of the match.
“It was a very difficult match, as we expected,” Garay explained. “There was a lot of pressure and I was proud to see that we reacted to it with great teamwork and that we fought for each point. It’s a great victory, but we’ll keep working. We want to be at our best form during the playoffs, which is where we can achieve what we’re looking for.”
The result propelled Praia Clube to 50 points in 18 matches (17 wins, one loss) at the top of the standings. Itambé Minas moved to the second spot with 48 points while SESC dropped to third with 45. Each team will play four more matches before the start of the playoffs.
Praia Clube now focus on the Women’s Club South American Championship, which will take place at their home stadium in Uberlândia next week. Besides the Superliga leaders, the other four teams entered in the tournament are Brazil’s Itambé Minas (defending champions), Argentina’s Boca Juniors and San Lorenzo and Bolivia’s Universidad Católica.
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