Cuba advances to quarterfinals with comeback win in five sets over Costa Rica

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, November 23, 2023. – Cuba advanced to the quarterfinals with a comeback win in five sets 3-2 (14-25, 20-25, 25-22, 25-20, 18-16) over Costa Rica on Thursday at the NORCECA Girls’ U17 Continental Championship in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

Cuba secured a dramatic victory, recovering from a two-set deficit to finish third place in Pool B with a 1-2 record. Costa Rica, with a 0-3 record, will compete for positions five to eight.

The NORCECA U17 Continental Championship grants three spots to the FIVB U17 World Championship in 2024.

Salet Castillo CUB

Outside hitter Salet Castillo scored an impressive 38 points (34 kills, 2 blocks, one ace) leading  Cuba’s victory. Middle blocker Lizt Lopez contributed 14 points on 9 kills, 2 blocks, and 2 aces. Team captain Yesica Brito added 12 points on 8 kills, one block, and three aces.

Costa Rica’s top scorer was Nicole Leiva with 17 points on 12 kills, one block, and four aces. Opposite hitter Lilliam Vargas scored 14 points on 11 kills and 3 aces, while outside hitter Dayna Barrantes contributed 13 points on 9 kills, three blocks, and one ace.

Cuba outperformed Costa Rica in attacks 56-50. Costa Rica had the advantage in serves 14-10 and gave away fewer points from errors (29-37). Both teams scored 7 points from blocks.

Salet Castillo from Cuba said, “We supported each other, encouraged ourselves because we knew we could do more. Even though we were losing two sets, we saw that we had the possibility of beating Costa Rica. We attacked harder to advance and compete for a medal”.

Dayna Barrantes from Costa Rica stated, “We came in with a hundred percent attitude and showed that we can play well. We lost focus and lacked confidence. It was a great game; we fought despite one of our players getting injured during warm-up (middle blocker Amanda Campos)”.