Curitiba, Brazil, July 9, 2017 – Earvin Ngapeth was on the court in only five of France’s 13 matches in the 2017 FIVB Volleyball World League. And that was all the time he needed to make the difference, lead his team to the top of the podium in Curitiba and take home his second MVP award
in three years.
The 26-year-old outside spiker had a tremendous performance in the dramatic 3-2 win over hosts Brazil in the final
scoring 29 points and showing his best game in crucial moments of the match. He scored even when he didn’t intend to, as happened in the fifth set, when a ball he touched on defense crossed the net and fell on Brazil’s side of the court to give the French a valuable 12-11 lead.
"Against Brazil, you have to play the perfect match to win,” he said. “It is always about the details when we play against them. I was lucky on that defense that ended up changing the tie-break. After that, Le Roux had a good run on serve and we kept the lead until the end. You need to take advantage of every opportunity to score against them because it’s never easy winning here in Brazil. It was wonderful to play here, it was like a dream."
Ngapeth was injured for most of the Preliminary Round, coming back to the team only on the last match before the Finals. According to him, the team’s good performance was vital to his complete recovery ahead of the Finals.
"I barely played in the Preliminary Round," he said. "But the team was doing so well without me, so I had all the time I needed to recover, work on my fitness and prepare to be ready to help in the Finals. They also have a big part in my performance."
As the most dangerous player of the French team, Ngapeth had to deal with a lot of pressure as the 23,149 fans who were at the Arena da Baixada stadium did not stop booing him every time he was preparing to serve or after he scored a point.
"I really love playing in a packed arena. I like when people are supporting my team, but I also feel comfortable when the fans are against me," he said.
Another thing Ngapeth really loves is his teammates. "We are like a family. Many of us started playing together at a very young age and it is amazing that after some years we are able to be here, all together, taking our country to the top of the world. Coach Tillie played with my dad and had me in his arms when I was a baby. It means a lot to win with these guys."