On Sunday the number one team in the world; Brazil. The Brasileros were playing their most hated rival; Argentina.
To put it in perspective, Brazil-Argentina is intense as Florida State-Miami, Biggie-Tupac, Alien-Predator, Emeril-Wolfgang Puck, etc. And on Sunday the the Brazilian supporters were drunk off their soccer team's earlier triumph over the United States. So the raucous crowd at FIU's US Century Bank Arena was ready to go nuts over even an easy block.
The ladies did not disappoint. Brazil won the match in four sets (26-24, 18-25, 25-13, and 25-18) but hard fought points had players sprawled out on the court, racing almost into the stands to track down a deflection, or slamming a violent spike down someone's throat.
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The 31st ranked Argentine squad had Brazil on the ropes early, but the Brazilians were rallied to win the first set. Georgina Pinedo led Argentina to a second set victory with an assault of spikes, digs, and serves. Pinedo's serves would have had any sane person ducking for cover.
But she was playing against Brazil, and after looking sluggish in the first two sets, the best team in the world found its swagger. Sheila Castro and Thaisa Menezes dominated the net and helped the Brazilians out-block their opponents 23-4 en route to two easy set victories. One of their thunderous spikes knocked an Argentine back a few feet and may have even deflated the ball a little.
Brazil is an extremely talented and tall team. But the US has the ability to beat them and has looked better than the top-ranked team in this tournament. Brazil got that "deer in the headlights" look when things weren't going their way Sunday night...the US won't let them off the hook like Argentina did.
The Americans defeated Mexico again in three sets (25-19, 25-14, and 25-11) and should cruise against their remaining opponents, Peru and Puerto Rico. Then, it's the playoffs and an inevitable collision with Brazil in what should be an epic match.