QUEBEC CITY, CANADA. Sept. 02, 2023: In the clash for fifth place, Mexico was able to control the match and defeat Puerto Rico 3-0 (25-22, 32-30, 25-22) today at the 2023 NORCECA Senior Women’s Volleyball Continental Championship in Quebec.
Much like their five-set clash during the pool stage, the two teams were fairly evenly matched on the court, exchanging leads and forcing the second set into overtime. Mexico led in attack points 54-49, and service aces 6-2. Puerto Rico had a slightly more effective block (7-5). The teams both gave up 16 points each to errors.
Aime Topete of Mexico led all scorers with 18 points, on13 attack points, 1 block and 4 aces.
Outside hitter Paola Santiago contributed 17 points to the losing side.
Puerto Rico now faces Costa Rica on Sunday for the final sixth and seventh classification spots.
Nicola Negro, head coach of Mexico: “Yesterday (after the loss to Puerto Rico in five sets) I said we have a second chance. You don’t always get a second chance… Today, in the second and third sets we came back from gaps, and this is a good sign. Fifth place in NORCECA is a start for us; we are working with a new generation of players. It’s a long path and now we have the Olympic qualifier in front of us, which will be a great experience for these players. Some rest, and then we will focus on that.”
Ivonne Martinez, Mexico player (setter): “We knew that it was going to be a hard game and that we couldn’t relax at any moment. I think we were very disciplined in some aspects, such as defense. We served really well. We study them a lot, so when we were down we played ball by ball and we stayed calm. We had a lot of attitude and a good spirit during this match.”
Fernando Morales, head coach of Puerto Rico, “I think it was a good match overall, Mexico just closed the sets better than us. I think we played better than yesterday. We are missing some of our key players, and we’re learning to play without them and it’s been hard. We have another chance tomorrow to close the tournament with a win (for sixth place against Costa Rica).”