Taubate, Brazil, July 24, 2020 – Volleyball is a team sport, but partnerships can play a big role in the success of teams. And one of the most popular combos in the sport is set to reunite in the 2020-2021 club season as middle blocker Lucas Saatkamp and setter Bruno Rezende prepare to play for Taubate in the Brazilian Superliga.
The first chapter of their history as teammates was in 2005, when they were both part of the Brazilian team that secured the silver medal at the FIVB Volleyball U19 World Championship. Since that year, they’ve always played together for at least part of the season.
The two players have been with the Brazilian national team since 2006, and have won numerous gold medals together at the international level. That includes the Rio 2016 Olympics, the 2010 FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship, the 2019 FIVB World Cup and three editions of the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup and the FIVB Volleyball World League.
“Every year for the last 15 seasons we’ve spent at least part of the time playing together,” Lucas said during a recent edition of the Jornada das Estrelas podcast. “We were born in the same year, so we played in the youth and junior teams at the same time and then when we got to the national team we had sort of a similar path too, even if Bruno got his spot in the game day roster a little earlier. He’s a great friend and someone I really look up to, so it’s really nice to have him as a teammate again.”
And judging by their past successes when playing together at the club level, Taubate fans can be excited. The middle blocker and the setter were teammates for the first time between 2006 and 2010, when they helped Cimed win three consecutive editions of the Brazilian Superliga. They met again in 2012-2013 and took RJX Volei to the top of the Brazilian league again.
In 2015-2016, they put their chemistry to the benefit of Modena, which in that season prevailed in the Italian League, Italian Cup and Italian Super Cup. After leading Brazil to the gold medal in Rio, they both returned to the country and remained together for one season at SESI, where they didn’t lift trophies together, but reached two finals.
After spending so many years together, the two have become close friends to the point that Lucas picked Bruno to be the godfather of this son Theo, who recently turned four.
“For a setter to have this connection with one of his hitters, it’s not easy,” Taubate’s recently-appointed head coach and former Argentinean setter Javier Weber said. “During my time with Argentina I had a great partnership with Marco Milinkovic and I can tell how beneficial it can be to a team. We’ll certainly use that relationship for the benefit of the team.”
So much success and the great off-the-court relationship have often made Bruno use Lucas as his go-to scoring option, a role typically given to outside hitters or opposites.
Their combined play at the middle of the net has been one of the trademarks of Brazil’s game for the last decade and it will soon be up and running again in Taubate.
“It’s about trusting each other, the confidence needs to go both ways,” Lucas added. “The same way he knows he can set me even if the pass wasn’t great, I understand I need to be ready to spike because the ball can always come to me. Our chemistry is great and we joked that even if we haven’t practiced together at all this year so far, we’ll only need a couple of days to be ready to go.”
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