Semifinalists decided at South American Club Championship


Walewska Oliveira attacks for Dentil Praia Clube of Uberlandia against Boca Juniors of Buenos Aires in the 2017 South American Club Championship.

Lausanne, Switzerland, February 16, 2017 - The semifinalists have been confirmed at the 2017 South American Women's Club Championship after Wednesday night's results - though the exact pairings will be decided after the last matches of pool play Thursday night - with all three 2016 medallists Rexona-Sesc Rio de Janeiro, University San Martin de Porres Lima and Villa Dora Santa Fe joined by this year's hosts Dentil Praia Clube Uberlandia in the top four.

It took just 44 minutes for Dentil Praia to destroy Olympic of Cochabamba 3-0 (25-2, 25-6, 25-6) in Uberlandia and claim their ticket to the semifinals, on their way to challenging defending champions Rexona-Sesc Rio de Janeiro for the title and a direct ticket to the 2017 FIVB Club World Championship next May in Kobe.

Praia Clube, currently second in Brazil's Superleague, will face reigning Argentina champions Villa Dora of Santa Fe in the closing match of Pool A, Thursday evening, to decide first and second place in the pool.

"I think that in every game we have to have a goal," said captain Dentil Praia captain Walewska Oliveira after the match. "Our idea for the game was not to make errors and I think it worked very well. The best game in our history."

Olympic Cochabamba coach Alejandro Gimenez, in turn, was happy to have faced such a skilled side full of Brazilian and international volleyball stars: "It's really a dream to be here, playing against Olympic champions. Playing at sea level continues to make it complicated for us, as to the speed of the ball. We are honoured to represent our country in a competition as important as the South American Club Championship," he said.

Over in neghbouring Uberaba, meanwhile, the 2016 continental silver medallists USMP opened their campaign with a solid 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-22) win over Boca Juniors Buenos Aires to secure their own ticket to the semis. They will face Rexona-Sesc Rio on Thursday to decide the pole position of Pool B.

National Team star Angela Leyva was top scorer of the game with 18 points for Peru reigning champions USMP. Mariangeles Cossar and Sabrina Germanier scored 13 each for Boca Juniors.

"We had a good debut and we're happy because winning is good and always motivates," said Leyva, the USMP captain after the game. "The match was not easy, but now we will put all our effort in tomorrow's game against Rexona, a very strong opponent. But we are already in the semifinals."

The winners of the South American Club Championship will join hosts Hisamitsu Springs of Kobe and reigning Asian Champions NEC Red Rockets of Kawasaki in the Club Worlds, 8-14 May. The 2017 European Champions League winners will also receive a direct ticket before the full roster is completed with the addition of four wild cards.

Pool play in Uberaba and Uberlandia concludes on Thursday evening. The top two teams of each pool advance to Friday's semifinals in Uberlandia.

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