Cuba tops Costa Rica in straight sets at NORCECA Final Four

NOGALES, Sonora, June 19, 2022.- Cuba topped Costa Rica in straight sets 3-0 (25-13, 25-17, 25-15) at the NORCECA Women’s Final Four Qualification Tournament on Sunday in Nogales, Sonora.

Cuba finished the event with 2-1 record and 10 points and will have to wait for their final position after the result between Mexico and Puerto Rico. Costa Rica finished 0-3.

Cuba outnumbered Costa Rica by a huge 14-2 margin in blocks, 38-29 in attacks, as well as a 5-1 margin in serves. Cuba committed fewer unforced errors (13-18) than Costa Rica.

Cuban captain Thainalien Castillo Leyva produced 11 points on 8 kills, one block and two aces, accompanied by opposite hitter Dezirett Madain with 10 points on 7 kills, two blocks and one ace, and outside hitter Claudia Tarin with 9 points.

Outside hitter Tamara Espinoza led Costa Rica with 7 points all on kills, opposite hitter Ana Victoria Rojas and outside hitter Maria Sofia Arroyo contributed with 6 points each.

Cuba match protocol

Odaimis Leliebre, Setter of Cuba: “We could have done better because Costa Rica is a team with less strength than ours. With the variations in line-up, we felt good, we have practiced for that, and our objective is to contribute to the development of each player”.

Mónica Picado, Setter of Costa Rica: “We came the entire tournament from less to more, we learned a lot for Central American championships, and we love to play against power houses like Cuba, all for our improvement. We are practicing well, we had good matches and we are looking for our less experienced players to play more, we want to improve Costa Rica’s level of play”.  

Joel Olazabal, Head Coach of Cuba: “We changed some players of position because we were aware that Costa Rica’s level was lower than the other teams, to observe all the players. We are satisfied with closing with a victory. We weren’t coming for the berth for the Challenger but to prepare the team and with the incorporation of other players we can have a good result for the Central American Games”.

Pablo Acuña, Head Coach of Costa Rica: “All the players had a chance to perform, this is a tournament for evaluations, preparation, to see what works and to learn. Despite the difficult opponent, the girls were confident, and we managed to hurt them with our weapons. We grew in confidence and the tactical planning, in defense and blocking; there are players that couldn’t travel here and that continue to be important for our process”.