Guatemala With a Comeback Win in Five-Sets Takes Fifth Place

COLIMA, Mexico, June 21, 2024.- Guatemala came from behind to secure a 3-2 (18-25, 22-25, 26-24, 25-14, 15-13) victory over Nicaragua, clinching fifth place at the first edition of the Boys’ U17 Pan American Cup in Colima, Mexico.

Guatemala rallied from a two-set deficit to finish the event with a 2-3 record and in fifth place. Nicaragua will face Costa Rica on Saturday in the match for positions 6-7.

Guatemala held advantage in kills (64-56) and committed fewer errors than Nicaragua (28-31). Nicaragua held an advantage in blocks (13-10) and service points (4-1).

Luis Mendizabal GUA

Guatemala’s captain and opposite hitter, Luis Mendizábal, scored 19 points (15 attacks, 3 blocks, and one ace). Outside hitter Juan Menéndez added 17 points (16 attacks, one block). Middle blocker José Asencio finished with 15 points (11 attacks and 4 blocks).

Nicaragua’s middle blocker Keneth Urtecho was the top scorer of the match with 25 points on  22 attacks and 3 blocks. Outside hitter Joaquín Padilla and middle blocker Antonio Márquez each scored 12 points.

Luis Mendizábal led his team to match point, and Menéndez scored the final point with a powerful kill when it seemed Nicaragua might take the win after tying the score at 13 and coming back from 11-13.

Juan Mendez GUA – Joshua Rivas NCA

After Guatemala’s victory, Luis Mendizábal commented, “I thought it wouldn’t be that hard, but it was. Nicaragua put pressure on us the whole time. We showed courage as a team, and that wore Nicaragua down. We fought for Guatemala and united as a team in the last three sets for the victorious result”.

Keneth Urtecho, the leading scorer of the game, said, “We had the point to win, but we couldn’t make it. Guatemala is undoubtedly a good team, and their best attacker scored several key points against us. We always sought victory, but unfortunately, we couldn’t maintain our advantage. We made mistakes, as anyone can”.