Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 16, 2016 - The afternoon session at the “Coliseu on Copacabana” started with a crowd-silencing women’s semi-final win for Germany and ended with a spectator-awakening victory for Brazil as Alison Cerutti’s 12 blocks pay dividends for he and Bruno Oscar Schmidt as the pair delighted the home crowd by advancing to Thursday’s gold medal match with a thrilling three-set victory over Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of The Netherlands.
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Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst’s two-set triumph over top-seeded and heavily-favored Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca dampened the Brazilian followers in the 12,000-seat venue on the iconic beach, but Alison and Bruno overcame mid-match flaws to ignite a Copacabana celebration by posting a 2-1 (21-17, 21-23, 16-14) win in 59 minutes over Brouwer and Meeuwsen.
Highlighting the play on the sand was the blocking of Alison and Meeuwsen as the two net keepers combined for 22 blocks. Three blocks at the end of the second set by Meeuwsen sent the match into the decider where Alison had five blocks starting with one to tie the set at 3-3 before posting positive stuffs to give the Brazilian leads at 5-4, 7-5, 10-7 and 14-13.
Meeuwsen, who had his final two blocks of the match to give the Dutch 1-0 and 3-1 advantages in the third set, nailed a successful attack to tie the match at 14s. A service fault for Meeuwsen provided the Brazilians with their second match point as Bruno dug Brouwer’s attack and ended the rally after an Alison set with a successful spike to end the Dutch’s hope for gold.
The semi-final match was a meeting of FIVB world champions as the Brazilians are the reigning “kings of the planet” after winning the crown in 2015 at The Hague to secure their berth in the Rio Olympics. Brouwer and Meeuwsen topped the FIVB World Championship podium in 2013 at Stare Jablonki, Poland.
In posting their sixth win in eight international matches with the Dutch, Alison and Bruno avenged mid-March setback to Brouwer and Meeuwsen at the Rio Grand Slam on Copacabana where the Brazilians were eliminated from the FIVB World Tour event in the quarter-finals.
Alison and Bruno will now play the winner of the late Tuesday evening match between Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai of Italy and Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Konstantin Semenov of Russia for the men’s gold medal at mid-night Thursday.