Belize City, July 14, 2022.- Guatemala showed all its strength to overcome in five sets 3-2 (25-14, 23-25, 25-21, 27-29, 15-13) a combative Nicaragua, in an electrifying match on the third day of the XIX U-21 Central American Women’s Volleyball Championship.
Nicaragua recovered from a fourth set deficit from the start, trailing 9-2, before tying at 23-23… after a set point exchange, the Nicaraguans took the set with two hotly contested points in the net, but In the fifth set, Guatemala managed to bring out their best weapon, blocking, and with a good defense they were able to make counterattack moves against the Nicaraguans.
Guatemala had Sofía Ibarra with 20 points, eight blocked, María Santa Cruz with 18, of which 8 served, Ivana Sopegno with 16 (7 blocked) and Naomi Monney with 16 points.
Gilmary Smith with 27 points was the best for Nicaragua, with 4 blocks and five aces, Nahima Silva contributed 12 points and Francesca Medrano with 10.
Guatemala did a lot of damage with the service with a 16-10 advantage, in blocking 21-9 and in attacks it was very even 52-49 in favor of Nicaragua, who committed 29 errors for 31 of their opponents.
Naomi Monney, captain of Guatemala: “I think we could give more, but in the sets that we managed to close there, our determination was visible; The last set cost us a lot, but together we were able to do well. This game meant a lot because we needed to win it if we want to be champions and go further. It was teamwork, we all supported each other, when one was failing another would come and solve it”.
William Fernández, coach of Guatemala: “First congratulations to Nicaragua, they were a great opponent, my respects for how they played because the match could be for anyone; It was a game in which each team gave its best, a good defense was seen, it was a good show for the entire public. Both coaches wanted to win and we did everything possible to do so, changing the rhythm of the game, varying the defense, even with double changes to find variability in the game”.
Francesca Medrano, captain of Nicaragua: “I am sad, but at the same time proud of my team, of what we achieved in the game, they showed who we are, we put up a lot of battle, we stood up strong and that was noticeable on the field. Our team is quite young, only three will no longer do this category, and they showed that age doesn’t matter, what matters is having heart and grit”.
Claudia Noguera, coach of Nicaragua: “I am proud of the team’s work, even though we lost, I think it was one of the best we have had in the tournament, they came back and we were close to victory. They are satisfied, especially because of the substitutions we made because they came to do their job. We have a fairly young team, it is new to Central American tournaments and they showed that they have desire and a future in this sport”.