When current World Champion Andre Loyola left his partnership with Evandro Gonçalves to join current Olympic Champion Alison Ceruti, he took a huge gamble. At 6’7″”, he mostly played the blocker role for his whole career. However, with his new partner standing at 6’8″ and being one of the best blockers in the World Tour, he had to agree to change positions to try and make the new partnership work.
The transition to a defensive role has not been easy for Andre. As the new duo is set to take on their fifth tournament together, he spoke to FIVB about taking his transition one step at a time:
“It’s completely different than what I used to do. I used to split block with Evandro, but we had a different strategy. I’m still learning and our coaching staff is working slowly with me on that. The biggest thing for me is getting my readings right. Once I do that, it shouldn’t be too hard to be a good defender having a blocker like Alison in front of me. I’m sure we’ll find the best system for us. Some of the great players of the history of the game like Emanuel and Ricardo did that and I think it shows how good it can be. It only helps. I’ve gone through several role changes since I started my career and this versatility allows me to pair with any player. I think we could see other guys doing the same soon as we have several teams with two tall players, so it could become a trend.”
His partner Alison has also talked about his struggles adjusting to the new team:
Olympic Champion Alison Talks About Hardships Of Changing Partners