NOGALES, Mexico, May 24, 2023.- Mexico beat Puerto Rico 3-0 (25-18, 25-20, 25-21) in pool A of the U21 Women’s NORCECA Pan American Cup in the closing match of day one in Nogales, Mexico.
Mexico came from behind in all sets and recovered from a five-point deficit in the third (5-10) to open their campaign with a win.
The host held a 42-38 advantage in kills and Puerto Rico 6-4 in blocks, both teams scored 3 aces. Mexico committed 12 errors against 22 from Puerto Rico.
Mexico’s captain Aime Topete led all scorers with 22 points on 20 kills and two blocks, while opposite hitter Grace Lopez led Puerto Rico with 21 points on 20 kills and one ace.
Mexico’s (1-0) next opponent in pool A is Cuba (1-0) and Puerto Rico’s is Belize (0-1).
Aimé Topete, captain of Mexico: “Starting the third set we felt the game could go longer, but as we got closer in the scores, we were more confident in ourselves and me of my team to control Puerto Rico. The win in three sets gives us confidence as a team. Against Cuba our motivation will be key”.
Luis León, head coach of Mexico: “It’s important to begin the competition with a 3-0 over Puerto Rico. The players were anxious because of the delay of the competition. In the third set with a difference of five points (5-10) we asked for a time-out to adjust, and we got closer slowly, we also did a double change to have three attackers which helped us. Tomorrow against Cuba we are hoping to perform better, they are physically strong”.
José Rivera, head coach of Puerto Rico: “Mexico’s serves and blocks helped them overcome our five-point lead in the third set, in addition to our high error margin. We must be more efficient in blocking so the defense can pick up the ball to face our next opponents”.