LA PAZ, Baja California, June 7, 2022.- Puerto Rico edged Dominican Republic in five thrilling sets 3-2 (25-23, 27-29, 25-22, 24-26, 16-14) at the inaugural match of the Women’s U21 Pan American Cup at Arena La Paz in Baja California Sur.
Puerto Rico won their first match in pool A of the qualifying event to the 2023 FIVB World Championship against a tough Dominican squad that led by a slim margin in every skill, with 55-54 in attacks, 17-16 in blocks and 7-5 in serves, while benefiting from 42 opponent errors and allowing 35.
Outside hitter Grace Mar López scored a match-high of 27 points leading Puerto Rico’s scorers; on 23 kills, 3 blocks and one ace. Opposite hitter Paola Martell followed with 11 points on 9 kills, one blocks, and one ace, and middle blocker Marcelle Baez also added 11 points on 5 kills, 5 blocks and one ace.
Middle blocker Florangel Terrero led Dominican Republic scoring 21 points on 18 kills, 2 blocks and one ace; setter Ariana Rodriguez contributed with 17 points on 11 kills and 6 blocks, and setter Sophia Reynolds chipped in with 10 points all on kills.
On the second day of competition in pool A, Dominican Republic has the day off and Puerto Rico plays against Cuba.
José Rivera, Head Coach Puerto Rico: “The game was intense, against a strong opponent. I am happy for my players for starting a tournament winning, which is positive. Our serving was effective, and our blocks executed well, allowing us to get the Dominican Republic off their offensive system of play”.
Cristian Cruz, Head Coach Dominican Republic: “We had too many ups and downs, we couldn’t develop our offense with our outside hitters, and we had to base our performance on our middles, compromising our passing. Our physical condition was bellow from what we are used to. Tomorrow we rest and we will try to improve during practice to face Cuba on Thursday”.