Cloe Chicoine named MVP at U21 Women’s Pan American Cup

NOGALES, Mexico, May 28, 2023.- Chole Chicoine of the United States named the Most Valuable Player MVP of the U21 Women’s NORCECA Pan American Cup after her team won their second gold medal in a row on Sunday night in Nogales, Mexico.

Chicoine also won the award for first Outside Hitter. The United States also earned four other recognitions; Norah Sis as the second Outside Hitter, Gabrielle Essix the first Middle Blocker, Lauren Briceño the Best Receiver and Rachel Fairbanks the Best Setter.

USA Chloe Chicoine Most Valuable Player

From Puerto Rico, team captain Marcelle Baez was named the second Middle Blocker, Grace Lopez was the Best Scorer, and Andrea Cruz was handed the awards for Best Libero and Best Defense.

Mexico’s Regina Perez was the Best Server and Dominican Republic’s Ariana Rodriguez the Best Opposite.

USA wins the U21 Women’s Pan American Cup

NOGALES, Mexico, May 28, 2023.- The United States won the gold medal match of the U21 Women’s NORCECA Pan American Cup defeating host Mexico 3-0 (25-13, 25-16, 25-21) on Sunday night in Nogales, Mexico.

The United States won the gold medal match undefeated and without dropping a set. This is their second title in a row, third overall, they won the 2017 edition.

This is Mexico’s third U21 Pan American medal, their first silver. Mexico won gold in the 2013 edition and the bronze medal last year.

The Americans held a huge 46-27 advantage in kills, 13-4 in blocks and 6-3 in aces, while committing 10 unforced errors against 16 from Mexico.

Cloe Chicoine led team USA with 19 points on 12 kills, a match-high of 5 blocks and two aces. The other American with double figures was opposite Devin Kahahawai who scored 14 points from 12 kills and two blocks.

Aimé Topete was the leading scorer for Mexico with 8 points.

Nogales Competition Hall during the gold medal match

Rachel Fairbanks, captain of United States: “In the third set we were expecting them to come out strong and fight back, but we fought through it. We prepared well for Mexico, at times we could have executed better, in the end we picked up tips, we worked hard, and we were the more aggressive team”.

Dan Fisher, coach of United States: “It was a great match, a great tournament, I thought Mexico and the people here were wonderful hosts. Mexico started really tough in the third set, we did just enough, they got us off the net and they were playing great defense in the back row, there were a lot of great rallies, good volleyball”.

Luis León, coach of Mexico: “United States is a team of great level of play to reach the world championships finals. In the third set we fought more because we served and received better. It’s a great feat winning a silver medal, the first one for Mexico in this age-group”. 

Cuba downs Dominican Republic for the Bronze Medal

NOGALES, Mexico, May 28, 2023.- Cuba downed Dominican Republic 3-1 (25-22, 25-20, 14-25, 26-24) to capture the Bronze Medal at the U21 Women’s NORCECA Pan American Cup on Sunday night in Nogales, Mexico.

This is the fourth occasion that Cuba has reached the podium, they won gold in 2019, and bronze in the 2011 and 2017 editions.

Cuba ended the tournament with a 4-2 record and the Dominican Republic 3-3.

Dominicans dominated the third set reaching a sizeable advantage (20-9) to extend the match to a vibrant fourth set won by Cuba after losing two match points (26-24).

Cuba led only in attacks 50-48 while Dominican Republic held advantages in blocks (11-9) and aces (7-6). Both teams committed 25 unforced errors.

Outside hitter Claudia Tarin led Cuba’s attackers with 16 points on 13 kills, two blocks and one ace. Opposite Lisania Grafort added 13 points on 12 kills, one block and one ace. Middle blocker Edisleidys Reyes contributed with 11 points on 4 kills,  3 blocks and 4 aces.

Dominican Katielle Alonzo scored a match-high of 21 points on 19 kills, one block and one ace. Opposite Ariana Rodriguez scored 12 points on 8 kills, 3 blocks and one ace.  

Monster Block from Cuba’s OP Grafort (1) and MB Reyes (13)

Wilfredo Robinson, entrenador de Cuba: “The team showed their potential, but they also showed they mustn’t be too confident because their opponent had a great level of play. This has been a great experience in which the match against the United States taught us what we are missing to secure our international level of play”.

Hhitney James, captain of Cuba: “As captain I motivated my team the entire game, especially at the final moments and I helped in the victory. We were able to recover after falling in the third set to come out for the win”.

Puerto Rico beats Costa Rica to finish fifth

NOGALES, Mexico, May 28, 2023.- Puerto Rico beat Costa Rica in straight sets (25-17, 25-21, 25-21) for the fifth place of the U21 Women’s NORCECA Pan American Cup on Sunday in Nogales, Sonora.

Puerto Rico finished the event with a 3-3 win-loss record and Costa Rica 2-4.

Puerto Rican opposite hitter Grace Lopez topped all scorers with 19 points on 17 kills, one block and one ace. Outside hitter Elena Garcia produced 10 points on 7 kills, two blocks and one ace. Aurora Moctezuma also scored 10 points.

Outside hitter Joselyn Moraga led Costa Rica with 13 points on 10 kills, one block and two aces. Team captain Angelica Rodriguez alongside middle blocker Nhya Barley chipped in with 8 and 6 points respectively.

Puerto Rico’s libero Ainoah Cruz (11) perfect pancake

José Rivera, coach of Puerto Rico: “I am satisfied, in last year’s edition we finished sixth and we ascended to fifth. We improved our receiving percentage collectively; we incorporated the middles in our offense, and we improved in blocking. In this match we pressured with serves and committed few errors, we followed our game plan to finish in three sets”.

Edivaldo Bonilla, coach of Costa Rica: “This wasn’t our best game, just like the previous ones against Belize and Guatemala, we didn’t play at our level. We must analyze ourselves and demand more of us if we want to grow and stand out”.

Guatemala seventh place defeating Belize

NOGALES, Mexico, May 28, 2023.- Guatemala finished seventh place after defeating Belize 3-0 (25-19, 25-11, 25-22) at the U21 Women’s NORCECA Pan American Cup on Sunday in Nogales, Mexico.

Guatemala held a 37-24 advantage in kills, 9-5 in blocks and 7-3 in aces. Guatemala committed 20 unforced errors and Belize committed 22.

Opposite hitter Naomi Monney scored a match-high of 15 points for Guatemala, on 13 kills, one block and one ace. Outside hitter Maria Santa Cruz contributed with 13 points on 11 kills and two blocks; middle blocker Ivana Sopegno added 8 points.

Outside hitter Khaya Gordon led Belize with 11 points on 8 kills, one block and two aces. Opposite hitter Nisaan Martinez and outside hitter Gareth Bruce added 9 and 5 points respectively.

Guatemala celebrates beating Belize

Ana Granados, captain of Guatemala: “We are leaving with a great experience. It was a must beating Belice. I believe we could have done more; we are capable but it’s a mental issue”.

William Fernández, coach of Guatemala: “It was important beating Belize because they are a country of our region, Central America, we couldn’t against Costa Rica. We will continue to work, mostly in the players’ confidence who need to believe they can do things”.

Mexico’s win over Dominican Republic puts them in the Gold Medal Match

NOGALES, México, 27 de mayo de 2023.- Mexico’s 3-1 (26-24, 25-21, 24-26, 25-17) win over Dominican Republic puts them in the gold medal match of the U21 Women’s NORCECA Pan American Cup in Nogales, Mexico.

Mexico (4-0) will play for the Pan American Cup title against reigning champion United States (4-0). Dominican Republic (3-2) will face Cuba (3-2) for third place.

Mexico lost the third set despite their formidable recovery from a nine-point deficit (11-20) and then won the fourth and final set  after missing five match points.

Mexico won the neck-to-neck battle against Dominican Republic leading in attacks 55-48, in blocks 19-10 and a slight 7-6 margin in aces. Dominican Republic committed fewer errors (19-24).

Team captain Aime Topete led Mexico with 19 points on15 kills and three blocks. Opposite Katherine Ramirez and middle blocker Arleth Marquez contributed with  18 points each; with Marquez scoring a match-high of seven blocks.

Outside hitter Katielle Alonzo led Dominican Republic with 18 points on 17 kills and one ace, followed by opposite hitter Ariana Rodriguez with 14 points on 13 kills and one block. Middle blocker Estrella Punte scored 12 points on 7 kills and five blocks.

Fans at Carlos Hernandez Carrera Gymnasium celebrate Mexico’s victory

Luis León, coach of Mexico: “During the third set the started to work when we were seven points down, but it was still difficult. It was a match with a lot of emotions, the team who dominated their emotions won. Tomorrow we will face a very strong team, but we feel strong to battle; USA is more physical than us, it’s the generation that finished third in the world, but those kinds of teams motivate us”.

Cristian Cruz, coach of Dominican Republic: “The key to our loss were the little details we failed in the first set, a bad distribution when the score was 22-21 changed the game. We didn’t execute what we practiced, in comparison to yesterday, today it was not fulfilled”.

USA beats Cuba in semis and is headed to the gold medal match

NOGALES, Mexico, May 27, 2023.- United States is headed to the gold medal match at the U21 Women’s NORCECA Pan American Cup with a 3-0 (25-15, 25-13, 25-20) win over Cuba in semifinals on Friday in Nogales, Mexico.

United States (4-0) will battle for gold against the winner between Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

The U.S. was dynamic and dominant in aces 10-1. They also led 41-30 in kills and 7-6 in blocks. The Americans scored 17 points on Cuban errors while committing 11.

Outside hitter Chloe Chicoine led all scorers with 16 points on 14 kills and two aces. Middle blocker Gabrielle Essix added 8 points on a match-high of 5 blocks, two attacks and one ace. Opposite hitter Devin Kahahawai also scored 8 points on 7 kills and one block .

Middle blocker Yalain De La Peña scored 11 points on 10 kills and one ace for Cuba. Middle blocker Yensy Kindelan and outside hitter Claudia Tarin added 7 points each.

Coach Dan Fisher USA and team USA celebrating against Cuba

Chloe Chicoine, top scorer of United States: “We knew Cuba was a great team and we had to stay calm the entire time. The match got emotional especially at the end, they came back and had a great run, we stayed calm through it and played our game. In the gold medal match we’re going to come out with a lot of fight, it’s going to be great no matter who our opponent is”.

Dan Fisher, coach of United States: “I think our zone four attackers had hit for a high percentage this tournament, they’ve been carrying a big load and Chloe is a big part of that. Cuba made a nice adjustment putting in number 6 (De La Peña) she affected the game and we just had to stay patient”.

Wilfredo Robinson, coach of Cuba: “We faced the team with the highest level of play in the tournament, they have height and dominate both complexes, their serves are directed, and their blocks are hermetic as their defense. We couldn’t work in the first two sets; we didn’t take any advantage in counter attacking. In the third set we defended well and we were able to recover, the serves worked well too. Despite the loss we showed we can play, what’s left is to continue working”.

Costa Rica defeats Belize to go for fifth place  

NOGALES, Mexico, May 27, 2023.- Costa Rica will go for fifth place of the U21 Women’s NORCECA Pan American Cup after defeating Belize in straight sets (25-20, 25-17, 25-20) on Saturday in Nogales, Mexico.

This was Costa Rica´s second tournament win, in the preliminaries they beat Guatemala and on Sunday they will battle against Puerto Rico for fifth place, while Belize takes on Guatemala for seventh.

Costa Rica topped Belize in attacks (38-30), in blocks (8-5) and in aces (6-3). Costa Rica committed 19 unforced errors against 23 from Belize.

Opposite and team captain Angelica Rodriguez led Costa Rica scoring 11 points from 9 kills, one block and one ace. Outside hitter María Torres and middle blocker Nhya Barley tallied 8 and 6 points respectively.

Belizean outside hitter Khaya Gordon led all scorers with 14 points on 10 kills, two blocks and two aces and outside hitter Gareth Bruce added 10 points all on kills.

Costa Rica celebrates defeating Belize

María Torres, outside hitter of Costa Rica: “For moments we lost focus and Belize got closer, we needed to adjust again to earn the victory. When we are focused in the game, no one can get us out of our system, we battle everything, we defend. Yesterday we got in the system because the match was quicker not like today’s that we had difficulties”.

Nhya Barley, middle blocker of Costa Rica: “Tomorrow we won’t stop battling until the last points against Puerto Rico, we want that fifth place”.

Gareth Bruce, outside hitter of Belize: “We lacked focus, we are a strong team and that is something we need to improve. For tomorrow’s last performance we need to be better in blocking and defense. Playing at this game level has been a new experience for the team and we need to play with the will to fight”.

Puerto Rico defeats Guatemala to play for fifth place

NOGALES, Mexico, May 27, 2023.- Puerto Rico defeated Guatemala 3-1 (25-17, 25-14, 21-25,  25-9) to play for the fifth place of the U21 Women’s NORCECA Pan American Cup in Nogales.

Puerto Rico will face the winner between Belize and Costa Rica on Sunday for the fifth place of the event; and Guatemala will go up against the losers for seventh place.

Guatemala surprised Puerto Rico, leading the third set and reaching a comfortable five-point lead (21-16) to force a fourth and final set.

Puerto Rico held a huge 12-5 advantage in serves, they also led 49-30 in kills and 13-11 in blocks. Puerto Rico committed 19 unforced errors and Guatemala 22.

Opposite hitter Grace Lopez continues to be one of Puerto Rico’s top scorers, she finished with a match-high of 29 points on 21 kills, two blocks and a match-high of 6 aces. Outside hitter Elena García added 15 points on 13 kills, one block and one ace, followed by team captain Marcelle Baez with 14 points on 5 kills, a match-high of 7 monster blocks and two aces.

Outside hitter Naomi Monney led Guatemala with 12 points on 7 kills, three blocks and two aces, joined by middle blocker Andrea Mendizabal with 11 points on 5 kills, 5 blocks and one ace.

Puerto Rico’s triple block from Lopez (15), Baez (12) and Garcia (8)

Aurora Moctezuma, Puerto Rico: “This is the first time I play for the national team, and I am so proud of everyone on the team. There were several changes in line-up in the third set and we didn’t communicate well, but we recovered quickly to close strong”.

Jimena Castellanos, setter of Guatemala: “We tried very hard, it was a vibrant third set and we were able to control all the elements of the game. For this team it’s the first time we win a set outside the Central American area. Unfortunately, our receiving dropped in the fourth set, it was difficult and our passing was unstable.

Dominicans claims their spot in semifinals beating Puerto Rico

NOGALES, Mexico, May 26, 2023.- Dominican Republic claimed their spot in the U21 Women’s NORCECA Pan American Cup semifinals after beating  Puerto Rico in four sets 3-1 (25-17, 28-26, 18-25, 25-19) on Friday night in Nogales Mexico.

In semifinals Dominican Republic will face host Mexico; the other semifinal, United States goes against Cuba who beat Costa Rica in quarterfinals.

Dominican Republic commanded the first set, but Puerto Rico recovered from a seven-point deficit (4-11) in the second set which set the intensity of the rest of the game that ended in four sets.

Dominicans used their blocking advantage (12-8) and scored on 23 Puerto Rican errors to win; they also held a slim margin 7-6 in serves. Puerto Rico prevailed in attacks 57-54.

Dominican Ariana Rodriguez led all scorers with a tournament-high of 24 points, on 18 kills, three blocks and three aces. Outside hitters Elsa Cuevas and Katielle Alonzo also contributed to the win with 16 points apiece.

Team captain Marcelle Baez led Puerto Rico with 18 points on 16 kills, one block and one ace, joined by opposite Grace Lopez with 17 points and middle Alana Guibert chipped in with 14 points.

Puerto Rico’s setter Valencia (3)

Ailyn Liberato, captain of Dominican Republic: “I cheered my teammates the entire game because we can always do better. We kept our energy high no matter the scores and we recovered from our mistakes”.

Marcelle Baez, captain of Puerto Rico: “We came from low to high, the first set wasn’t good, we finished the second set strong, and that energy helped us to win the third and limit our errors. We battled all the way. We gave our all and I am proud of my teammates. We are going strong for the matches ahead”.

Cristian Cruz, coach of Dominican Republic: “The rivalry between Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico is in all age-groups, they are exciting matches, we know each other well. Today it was our turn to win after the loss to Puerto Rico a couple of weeks ago. We are aware of our potential and today we were able to execute the tactical ideas better than them. Tomorrow against Mexico we must adjust our blocks and our defense a little bit”.