Curitiba, Brazil, July 6, 2017 - Home-idol Ricardo Lucarelli uncorked a full set of his own as hosts Brazil tenaciously prevailed over Russia 3-2 (25-18, 18-25, 25-19, 22-25, 16-14) to advance to 2017 FIVB Volleyball World League semifinals in Curitiba on the first game of Thursday action.
Lucarelli’s 25-point game was followed by Mauricio Silva’s output as the fellow wing-spiker scored 14 times, while opposite Wallace De Souza capped 13 points. On the Russian side of the net, Maxim Zhigalov and Dmitry Volkov topped the list with 17 points apiece.
Only one set was enough for Brazil to secure their place among the elite four, but nevertheless they kept going and reached Pool J1 top spot with the 3-2 win, sending Canada to the second place. Winless Russia finished their run at the competition.
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The first set was nearly a monologue from Brazil - the hosts quickly created a 7-2 gap and Bruno Rezende cleverly kept all of his attackers in play to side-out until the end. With the semifinal berth on their pockets, the home side slowed down and Russia could put a fight, exchanging control until the tie-breaker. There, Lucarelli confirmed himself as the hero and ignited the celebration on the stands.