News article

Gamova powers Russia over Brazil to capture second straight world championship



The jubilant Russian exploded in celebration after capturing the gold medal

Tokyo, Japan, November 14, 2010 - Russia captured their second straight world championship and seventh overall by defeating top-ranked Brazil in a five-set marathon (21-25, 25-17, 20-25, 25-14, 15-11) to win the gold medal in front of a full house of 12,000 fans at the 2010 FIVB Women's World Championship at Yoyogi National Stadium in Tokyo on Sunday.
It was the second consecutive edition of the world championship, both times in Japan, that Russia edged Brazil in the final match of the quadrennial competition.
Towering Ekaterina Gamova was literally head and shoulders above the rest of the players, including her teammates, finishing the match with 35 points, including four blocks and 2 serving aces. The Russian ace punished the opponents with a 54.7 percentage of success (29-for-53) with her attacks.Liubob Shashkova, Maria Perepelkina and Tatiana Kosheleva contributed 14,13 and 10 points respectively.
Sheila Castro topped Brazil with 26 points and Natalia Pereira added 18 including five blocks. Jaqueline Carvalho chipped in 16 tallies.
Showing no sign of fatigue from their epic marathon against Japan on Saturday night, Brazil roared ahead 10-3 in the first set, igniting a samba party among hundreds of Brazilian fans wearing yellow and green. Liubov Shashkova led Russia back to 13-10 down, as Brazil called time-out. Teams traded punches, with Fabiana blocking 202-cm Russian ace Ekaterina Gamova to put Brazil up 16-13 at the break. Russia couldn't reign in Jaqueline's spike, as Brazil surged to 20-15, forcing Russia to call time-out. Tatiana Kosheleva sailed a serve way long to give Brazil 21-15. Russia served their way back into the set, inching to within one at 21-20. Jaqueline disputed a call she didn't get her way, and Russia equalized at 21. Sheila slapped down a spike from the left-wiing to retake the lead 22-21. Natalia smacked one off Russian hands, and Sheilla's tip was deflected out, giving Brazil the opening set 25-21.

With Russia up 7-4 in the second set, Sheilla hammered a spike off Shashkova's hands, while Gamova replied with a thunderous slam to keep Russia ahead 8-5. Maria Borodakova twice rejected Brazilian spikes to go 10-6. Russia next blocked Jaqueline, until Sheilla finally penetrated the Russian wall to narrow the gap to 11-8. Maria Perepelkina directed a set for a winner, and Brazil fumbled a reception to fall behind 13-8 and force Ze Roberto to call time-out.
Brazil responded with three straight to make it 13-11. Perepelkina, prowling around the net, turned back another Brazil attack, and then rejected Braziian substitute Joyce, to put Russia up 16-11. Kosheleva tipped into the soft middle between Brazil's front and back row, to go 17-11. Even after a time-out, Perepelkina and Evgeniya Startseva again thwarted a Brazilian salvo, as Brazil could not find a way around the Russian barrier. Brazil made some inspired digs but Fabiola tipped wide, to give Russia 20-12. Trying to alter their attack as they did with success in the semifinals, Brazil found Fabiana on the right and it worked. Natalia made a brilliant diving save with the top of her hand, which Brazil converted, as they scrapped their way back to 20-15. With the crowd chanting “Sassa, Sassa," she served a point which Brazil won on a Jaqueline swat. The towering Gamova hit a winner from the right to calm her side, and Shashkova pelted a spike from the left to give Russia 22-16. Thaisa's spike caught the back-line, but Shashkova smartly flicked the ball into the same yawning gap between Brazilian lines, to go up 23-17. Natalia missed wide, and at set point 24-17, Shashkova sealed the set 25-17 with a right-wing salvo.
The roller-coaster ride continued in the third set. Brazil, which seemed so down to end the second set, roared back with positive new tactics. Instead of feeding Natalia and Sheilla, they fed quick sets to Fabiana, who only had two points the first two sets. Fabiana responded with three quick points to take Brazil up 8-6 at the break. Jaqueline, playing on pure passion, blocked Gamova and twirled with delight, taking Brazil to 10-6. She pummeled a hit off the left wing to extend Brazil's advantage to 11-6, while Startseva smartly redirected a quick set into space for 11-7. Kosheleva served long for 12-8, but Gamova won one back for her to 12-9. Shashkova slammed one after a nifty fake spike by Borodakova, while Sheilla aced Russia down the right side to go 15-10. Russia lost a close call at the net, giving Brazil 16-11. Gamova snuck in from the back row to hit Russia back to 17-13, while Thaisa rejected Nataliya Goncharova to go 18-13. Thaisa and Sheila again blocked Russia's left-wing salvo to go 20-14. Gamova blocked two in a row for Russia to trail 20-17. Brazil looked to Natalia late in the set, and she delivered with monstrous hits to keep Brazil ahead 21-18.
After a Russian time-out, Natalia's reflexes at the net kept a ball alive, and Sheilla responded by hammering a ball off Shashkova's face, dazing the Russian veteran momentarily. Showing great sportsmanship, Sheilla graciously gave Shashkova a moment to recover, and then served to put Brazil up 24-20, and they clinched the set 25-20.

Desperate to stay alive in the final, Russia went ahead 7-3 after Gamova's thunderous spike down the middle. Russia couldn't dig out a Brazil tip, but forged ahead 8-4, hoping to force a fifth set. Jaqueline hopped up to throw one down from the left, while the wily Shashkova placed one to go up 9-5. Kosholeva made a great diving save to set up Gamova's towering hit, and Natalia flubbed a hit to put Brazil behind six at 12-6. Down 14-6 after five straight Russian points, Ze Roberto inserted Sassa to try and spark Brazil,. Startseva tried so hard to save a ball, she even went under the net to approach the Brazilian bench, but failed to get it. Gamova rewarded the effort with another spike almost straight down, and Russia was firmly in command at 16-8.
Kosholeva smacked a winner to extend Russia's lead to 17-9, and Sheilla hit long. Ze Roberto had seen enough and called time-out. Brazil still could not muster the passion it had earlier, and Russia appeared to benefit from the extra rest they had from their quicker match on Saturday. Perepelkina's swat made it 21-10, as Brazil seemed to be saving their best for the fifth set. Perepelkina's yanked down a ball to give them set point at 24-11. Jaqueline's hits and some blocks won 3 back for Brazil, but Gamova capped a set she dominated by hammering a hit off Fabiola for a 25-14 win.
In the deciding fifth set, Brazil charge ahead 2-0 before Gamova nailed two back for Russia. Sheilla, who already had 23 points in the first four sets, continued to hammer away at Russia's defense, and her service winner ignited a pro-Brazil crowd. Perepelkina slammed one to spark Russia, as the teams battled to 4-all. With Gamova cruising in for another missile, Fabiana leapt up to reject her, and Russia couldn't dig it out, giving Brazil a 5-4 edge. Russia quickly got it back on a deflection, but then a euphoric Jaqueline scored falling out of bounds on a resounding spike for 6-5. Sheilla and Gamova traded punches, and Perepelkina ended a bitter rally with a tremendous block of Jaqueline, to inch within one at 7-6. Brazil lost a close call which Ze Roberto contested, and Thaisa got it back with a right-wing blast at Gamova's feet.
After changing sides, Russia equalized at 8-all, and Sheilla missed long again to give Russia a 9-8 edge. Thaisa slapped down a hit from the center, while Russia attacked back to stay up 10-9. Shashkova targeted Jaqueline deep in the back-court to drive Russia ahead two at 11-9, forcing Ze Roberto to call time-out. Natalia's monstrous hit made it 11-10, but Gamova continued to tower over of the match. Captain Fabiana retaliated for Brazil, but they couldn't stop Gamova's relentless assault to 14-11. In a fitting match point for a tournament she dominated, Gamova soared high and launched a missile deep into Brazil's back-court. Sheilla stretched as far as she could, but her bump sailed farther behind her, and Russia jumped for joy, winning the set 15-11, and capturing their second straight world title in Japan.