MANAGUA, Nicaragua, September 7, 2023 – Belize defeated Guatemala 3-0 (25-20, 25-22, 25-22), securing their first victory after a loss in the XXII AFECAVOL Women’s Senior Central American Cup at the Alexis Argüello Sports Complex.
For both teams, a win was crucial after losing on day one of the competition, and a second defeat would reduce their podium chances; it was team Belize who took advantage of the opportunities, especially with Nelissa Ramírez scoring 18 points and Nisaan Martínez with 10. María Santa Cruz was the top scorer for Guatemala with 14 points.
In the third set, with the score at 20-18 in favor of Guatemala, starting setter Avianka Ávila suffered an ankle injury that forced her out of the game, and Ayana Godfrey had to step in. Together with her teammates, they rallied to turn the score around and secure the set and the match.
Belize was better in attacks (35-30) and blocks 8-1 (with three from Martínez), while Guatemala led in service points (5-4). Both teams made 28 unforced errors.
On Friday, Guatemala, with two losses, will face Honduras at 1:30 p.m., and Belize will take on Panama at 6:30 p.m.
José Fontes, coach of Belize: “After Guatemala’s defeat yesterday against El Salvador and despite some of our players having little preparation, we told them that we had to step onto the court with character and determination, with the desire to win because it was within reach. In the end, we had the situation with the setter, but the substitute player did the job, and we achieved an important victory that makes us think about bigger things”.
Avianka Avila, setter of Belize: “I am very proud of my team. We really worked hard, and it was a great improvement from yesterday. They really managed to take Guatemala out of the game. After the injury, the last two points were very exciting. I was frustrated because this was not the time to get injured, but I am very happy that my team had my support from the bench and could pull away on the scoreboard”.