Wallace sends Bulgaria packing


Wallace led Brazil to a win on Friday

Cordoba, Argentina, June 16, 2017 – Wallace de Souza scored a team-high 12 points as Brazil convincingly dominated Bulgaria 3-0 (25-15, 25-19, 25-22) in Friday's World League third week action.

The highflying Brazilian showed the way as the Canarinhos delivered a strong team performance with Lucas Saatkamp and Ricardo Lucarelli Souza both scoring 9 each. Bulgari's top performer, Jani Jeliazkov (7 points) couldn't compensate for his team's failing, especially in defense, while star Tsvetan Sokolov did not enjoy a successful match.

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As hosts of the 2017 Final Six, Brazil have already booked a seat to the table in Curitiba. But Renan Dal Zotto's men had to set the record straight after a 3-1 defeat, just their second of the stage, at the hands of their forthcoming opponents. A week has passed since Tsvetan Sokolov scored 19 points on them and Brazil had no intentions of being gracious as Evandro M. Guerra headed into the rematch as the second best spiker of the 2017 World League with 63 (57.27%).

Bulgaria, on the other hand, has Nikolay Nikolov (0.86 avg per set), the competition's top blocker. The Europeans desperately needed a win, only their fifth against Brazil in 25 games, to straighten their 3-3 record and keep their hopes of qualifying alive.

A very strong start from Brazil's block, combined with too many defensive mistakes from Bulgaria, saw the Auriverde race to a comfortable 8-0 as Ricardo Lucarelli Souza and Wallace de Souza put on quite a show. With such an advantage, the hosts of the Final 6 at the start of July controlled the pace of the game and Wallace smashed an incredible spike to give his team a crushing 17-8 lead. Jani Jeliazkov and his 5 points couldn't change the course of a first set that was easily won by Brazil 25-15.

The roles were reversed in the second set as Bulgaria put their opponents to the sword with a strong blocking performance (5-9). The Canarinhos turned things around however as Wallace was on target and Mauricio Borges Almeida Silva served for an ace (13-10). Captain Bruno Mossa Rezende led the charge and Brazil found themselves with a two-point lead heading into the business end of the set (20-15). But it was Wallace who sealed the deal with a monster spike (25-19).

It was more of the same later as Brazil relied on Wallace to put them in front (6-4). The Penchev brothers, Nikolay and Rozalin, provided some much needed relief for Bulgaria with some quality work at the reception. But it wasn't enough to snuff out the Auriverde threat in a tightly contested third set (13-13). A final rally saw Brazil conclude easily as Ricardo Lucarelli performed his team's seventh block (25-22).

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