Guatemala Defeats Costa Rica to Advance to Quarterfinals

COLIMA, Mexico, June 19, 2024.- Guatemala defeated Costa Rica 3-1 (25-18, 27-25, 22-25, 27-25) in their final pool-play match, advancing to the quarterfinals of the Boys U17 Pan American Cup in Colima, Mexico.

Guatemala concluded pool A with a 1-2 record, while Costa Rica finished 0-3. Guatemala will await their quarterfinal opponent for Thursday’s match. Meanwhile, Costa Rica will compete in the classification matches for positions 5 to 7.

Guatemala capitalized their win with significant advantages in attacks (61-51), blocks (11-7), and service points (6-0). Despite benefiting from 23 Costa Rican errors, Guatemala also conceded 35 points from their own errors.

Jorge Gonzalez GUA

Guatemala’s captain and outside hitter, Luis Mendizábal, led all scorers with 23 points (20 attacks, one service point), followed by Juan Carlos Menéndez with 21 points (18 attacks, 2 blocks, one service point). Jorge González also contributed to the victory with 14 points, all from kills.

For Costa Rica, the leading scorer was Ignacio Morales with 18 points (16 attacks, 2 blocks). Deymian López added 13 points, all from attacks, and Ángel Monge finished with 10 points, also all from attacks.

Guatemala dominated the first set and reached set point in the second set (24-22). However, two attacks from Deniz Vargas tied the score at 24. Guatemala regained set point at 26-24 with a kill by Carlos Menéndez, and Juan Zúñiga closed the set with a block. Costa Rica extended the match by winning the third set, led by Ignacio Morales and Deymian López. In the fourth set, Costa Rica rallied from a three-point deficit (17-20) to tie in the final points. Luis Mendizábal secured the victory at 27-25 with a kill and a block.

Ignacio Morales CRC

Juan Carlos Menéndez, Guatemala’s outside hitter, commented, “The key to our victory today was our setter’s intelligence; he read the opponent well. We wouldn’t be in the next round without him. We lost a very tight set that could have gone either way. In the fourth set, we managed to stay calm and played with strong attacks”.

Costa Rica’s coach, Jenkins Cruz, said, “We couldn’t recover our setter for this match. We came prepared with a strategically established plan, but you can’t anticipate injuries, especially not to the setter who distributes the whole game. The substitute player did well, but he hasn’t been with the team for long. The physical integrity of the setter is more important, and we hope he can play for the rest of the tournament”.