Sarah Pavan celebrates the championship in Brazil again
Canadian opposite hitter Sarah Pavan has a very good reason to celebrate today in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Pavan’s team won the Superliga, the Brazilian national championship for the ninth time in history, and it’s her second title in two seasons over there. Invited two years ago to join one of the strongest Brazilian teams by Olympic and world champion coach Bernardo Rezende (aka Bernardinho), Sarah Pavan experienced again the winning taste, and once more nothing less than the main tournament in Brazil, one of the strongest leagues in the world – Brazil women’s team won the last two Olympics.
Today, in front of a packed Maracanãzinho (the volleyball Olympic venue for 2016), with 12,000 people cheering, Unilever beat Sesi 3-1 (21-11, 21-12, 13-21 e 21-16) – Brazilian Volleyball Confederation decided to use 21-point sets system this season. This title comes after a disappointing third place at “Copa do Brasil”, a competition with the top eight teams in the country. At Superliga finals though, Unilever could have back legendary setter Olympic champion Helia “Fofao” de Souza.
Last season, Pavan was one of Superliga’s top scorers, while this year she saw a more balanced attack distribution, sharing responsibility with teammates Brankika Mihajlovic and Gabriela Guimarães, both left sides. However, the Brazilian press noticed a huge improvement on Pavan’s defensive skills, something attributed to her training as a beach player, competing for Canada. Earlier this year, coach Bernardinho told “The Source” he was happy with Pavan’s development on other aspects of the game and also that he considered valid her experience in beach volleyball to help her during the indoor season. Many times, the commentators sounded surprised by Pavan’s agility on digging, as she’s 1,96m.
“There are two aspects that I consider essential for winning: Hard word and a cohesive group. These two things are important for the girls too and it’s beautiful to see them embracing the work with so much passion. We built that and they are the main responsible for the result”, said Bernardinho to the press, before the awarding ceremony.