Costa Rica beats Nicaragua to play for fifth place

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, November 25, 2023.- Costa Rica beat Nicaragua 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-22) at the first edition of the NORCECA Girls’ Under-17 Championship on Saturday at the Jorge Galeano Gymnasium in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

On Sunday, Costa Rica Nicaragua will play for fifth place against the winner between Honduras and Cuba; Costa Rica Nicaragua goes against the loser for seventh place.

Costa Rica’s tough serves were key in prevailing against Nicaragua, with an 11-3 advantage; they also led in kills 42-33 and scored on 19 opponent errors. Nicaragua held a 5-3 margin in blocks and benefited from 23 Costa Rican errors.

Nathalia Zavaleta CRC

Opposite hitter Lilliam Vargas topped Costa Rica with 14 points on 12 kills and 2 aces. Outside hitter Michelle Arias contributed with 11 kill points and Nicole Leiva chipped in with 9 points.

Middle blocker Keyling Olivas led Nicaragua with 9 points on 6 kills and 3 blocks. Middle blocker Karen Bird and setter Franchesca Viera added 8 points each.

Costa Rica came from behind in the first set (10-14) and the second (6-11). Costa Rica started the third with an overwhelming ten-point advantage (13-3), but Nicaragua never gave up, scoring six points in a row while down 8-17, to level the scores at 20. Costa Rica finally won 25-22.

Costa Rica’s captain, Nadia Granados, said, “We were behind in the first two sets because of our attitude. When we started to lift our spirits, things improved, and so did the score. In the last set, we were concerned about the big lead we had, and they were able to catch up, but fortunately, we recovered to secure the victory. Tomorrow, we need to be more consistent in our game and not settle down”.

“We showed that we can fight. Unfortunately, we didn’t rise until the end of the game, and we should have done it from the first two sets. We got discouraged very quickly, and we couldn’t achieve the victory we desired so much” said the captain of Nicaragua, Lucía Columna.