Cuba beats Costa Rica to play for fifth place against Canada

HERMOSILLO, Mexico, July 22, 2023.-  Cuba beat Costa Rica in straight sets 3-0 (25-18, 25-21, 25-20) to play for fifth place against Canada in the Women’s U23 Pan American Cup in Hermosillo, Mexico.

Sunday’s fifth place between Cuba and Canada will be a rematch of the preliminary round of the tournament where Canada topped Cuba in four sets. Costa Rica and Honduras will play for seventh place, who also met in the preliminary round won by the Costa Rican squad.  

Cuba struggled to close all three sets. Cuba lost three set points before moving on top. In the second set, Costa Rica recovered from a seven-point deficit (12-23) edging Cuba up to a close 25-20 set finish for Cuba. Once again Costa Rica pressed hard in the final and third set but came off short.

Cuba’s serves were definitely a key element to beat Costa Rica, leading by a huge 11 to 3 advantage. The Caribbean team also led in attacks 38-34 and in blocks 9-5. Both teams scored on 17 opponent errors.

Grafort serves for Cuba against Costa Rica

Middle blocker Edisleidys Reyes led Cuba with 13 points on 11 attacks and two blocks. Opposite hitter Alejandra Gomez contributed with 12 points on 6 kills, two blocks and five impressive points on service aces.

Costa Rican team captain Lkysha Thompson was the leading scorer of her team with 12 points, scoring on 10 attacks and two blocks.

Wilfredo Robinson, coach of Cuba: “I made changes in the lineup to continue defining possible scenarios for the U21 World Championship and the aspiration to obtain fifth place tomorrow, which we would be satisfied with our performance here in the competition. We hope to show another level tomorrow; the team has the conditions to win it”.

Andrés Carvajal, coach of Costa Rica: “The team had a good attitude, showing a different face compared to previous matches. Some of the players come with a load of international games in the senior category and from our national league, so we were in a comfort zone without responding to the level of the competition and taking the responsibility to represent our country. Today, we enjoyed it, and we hope it gets even better, showing an evolution of the team for tomorrow against Honduras”.