YU_SPORT_1: Volleyball: Yugoslavia Upsets Brazil

Volleyball: Yugoslavia Upsets Brazil

Pedge Pjanic (ppjanic@au.oracle.com)
Thu, 01 Aug 1996 09:59:21 +1000

AP Sports Writer

(AP) -- Yugoslavia claimed its biggest volleyball victory Wednesday,
winning a fifth-set tiebreaker to upset defending Olympic champion
Brazil in the men's quarterfinals.

Yugoslavia, which has no players with previous Olympic experience,
advanced to the medals round with a 15-6, 15-5, 8-15, 14-16, 15-10
victory. The Yugoslavs have played their last three matches without
captain Dejan Brdovic, who returned home last week after the death of
his 14-month-old son.

``If we go back without a medal it would be a defeat,'' said Vladimir
Batez, who led Yugoslavia with 35 kills. ``We believe we are capable of
winning a medal. What the color is doesn't matter.''

The Netherlands, the world's second-ranked team and 1992 silver
medalist, beat Bulgaria 16-14, 9-15, 15-3, 15-13 to advance. The Dutch
will face the winner of the Cuba-Russia quarterfinal. Bulgaria was
coming off a victory over the United States on Monday that helped
eliminate the host country.

Yugoslavia has appeared in only one previous Olympics, placing sixth in
the boycotted 1980 Moscow Games.

Its semifinal opponent will be Argentina or gold-medal favorite Italy.

The Yugoslavs were allowed back in the Olympics this year after United
Nations sanctions kept them out of the 1992 Barcelona Games. Many of
their players developed by competing professionally in other countries.

``This is our second year we are competing at all,'' said Vladimir
Grbic, who spiked a Brazilian overpass to win the match
and finished with 31 kills. ``It was not by choice but because of a
political sports embargo.''

Brazil fought off two match points behind the hitting of Alexandre
Samuel to win the fourth set. But it never had the lead in the fifth
set, in which a point is awarded on every serve.

Brazil also played without its captain, Antonio Gouveia, who pulled a
calf muscle before the Olympics started.

The best Brazil can do is finish fifth. It opened with two straight
losses, then defeated its next three opponents -- including the United
States -- to finish second in Pool A. Yugoslavia was third in Pool B
with a 3-2 record.

In 1992, Brazil went 8-0 to end the United States' streak of two
straight gold medals.