Sada Cruzeiro take on Bolivar for South American Clubs title


Robertlandy Simon of Sada Cruzeiro gets the better of the UPCN San Juan block of Javier Filardi and Martin Ramos at the semifinals of the 2017 South American Club Championship.

Lausanne, Switzerland, February 25, 2017 - Argentina champions Personal Bolivar fought off the advances of hosts Montes Claros Volei and defending champions Sada Cruzeiro Contagem defeated UPCN San Juan in Friday night's semifinals at the 2017 South American Club Championship.

Sada Cruzeiro crushed UPCN 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-23) with some inspired plays by setter William Arjona, as Cubans Yoandy Leal with 17 points and 78 per cent atacking efficiency and Robertlandy Simon with 15 and 75 per cent led the attack. UPCN's best scorer was middle blocker Gustavo Molina with 12 points.

"It was a very good match," said Leal after the game. "Today we made some errors at first, but sometimes this happens. And we knew their team, the way they play and we focused on our game. We had studied UPCN very well, we marked well with our block, we attacked a lot and that worked. Now we have to rest a bit, because tomorrow it's time for the title and also a ticket for the World Championship".

To close semifinals day, Montes Claros fought hard from two sets down to force a tie-break, but still fell to Personal Bolivar 3-2 (28-26, 25-21, 23-25, 24-26, 15-10). Silmar Antonio 'Pia' de Almeida and Australia's Thomas Edgar were instrumental in giving the Argentine side their two-set lead and the visitors even had a match point at 24-23 in the fourth, before their reception faltered allowing Montes Claros to rally back and send the game into a tie-break.

It is the fourth straight and fifth overall final for reigning world champions Sada Cruzeiro, who have claimed the continental title three times. Personal Bolivar will be playing in the final for the second time, after winning the title with a win over when they hosted the competition in 2010 with a five-set win over Cimed Florianopolis.

Sada Cruzeiro last met Personal Bolivar in the semifinals of the 2016 FIVB Volleyball Men's Club World Championship in Betim, with the Brazilian side winning in four sets before going on to claim the gold medal.

Montes Claros will face UPCN for bronze ahead of Saturday night's final at the Tancredo Neves Gymnasium.

The winner of the South American Club Championship gets a direct ticket to the 2017 FIVB Volleyball Club World Championship, next December in Poland.

Earlier in the day in Montes Claros, Peru Champions Unilever Lima had shut out Uruguay's Bohemios Montevideo 3-0 (25-17, 25-14, 25-18) to secure fifth place in the final ranking. Francis Mendoza was top scorer of the game with 12 points for Unilever.

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