Canada Reaches Semifinals with Five-Set Victory against Costa Rica

PONCE, Puerto Rico, May 17, 2024. – Canada advanced to the Boys U19 NORCECA U19 Continental Championship semifinals after a five-set victory 3-2 (25-21, 19-25, 25-22, 23-25, 15-13) on Friday at the Salvador Dijols Coliseum in Ponce, Puerto Rico.

It was a match of highs and lows, with extraordinary performances by both teams. Costa Rica led in all sets except the first. Canada recovered from a three-point deficit (10-13), just two points away from Costa Rica sealing the win in the fifth set.

Canada’s significant 14 to 4 advantage in block points and 69 to 58 in attack points was crucial in pushing the team to the semifinals, despite conceding 42 error points compared to Costa Rica’s 20. Canada also had a 4-2 advantage in service points.

Canada’s top scorer was team captain, Reuben Veith, with 30 points (29 attacks, 1 block). He was joined by opposite Luke Wright with 24 points (20 attacks, 3 blocks, 1 service) and middle Grayson McDonald with 10 points (7 attacks, 3 blocks). Middle Simon Tate scored the highest with 5 blocking points.

Luke Wright of Canada atacks against Stanley Grant Brown of Costa Rica

Stanley Grant once again led Costa Rica’s scoring, finishing with 30 points, all from attacks. Opposite Ignacio Morales added 15 points (12 attacks, 2 blocks, 1 service), and outside hitter Jean Paul Vargas contributed 11 points.

Dan Ota, Head Coach of Canada: “I don’t think that was the way we planned the game to go. This is a young team that is learning to play together. I am proud of how they played when it got difficult. Sometimes we aren’t playing well, but the boys are starting to discover this ability to come back, fighting and if they keep fighting, they’re never out of the game. I hope this match will continue to encourage them because that’s the Canadian style. Today people who got to watch the game enjoyed good volleyball. I like to give credit to Costa Rica, they are an excellent team, they have some excellent players who pushed us to our absolute limit”.

Eytan Vargas, Captain of Costa Rica: “We had a lot of adrenaline, we lost our focus a bit, there was excitement in leading the entire match, it’s part of learning and part of the game. We are a very young group. I believe there were points that shouldn’t have been called. We accept the loss, we must keep working, correct the mistakes, hold our heads high, and make Costa Rica proud”.