Mexico makes it to NORCECA U17 Semifinals beating Cuba

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, November 24, 2023.- Mexico made to the semifinals of the NORCECA Girls’ Under-17 Championship after beating Cuba 3-0 (25-10, 25-17, 25-19) on Friday at the Jorge Galeano Gymnasium in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

Mexico will face Canada in Friday’s first semifinal for a chance to reach the gold medal match and qualify for the 2024 FIVB World Championship. In the other semifinal, Dominican Republic plays Puerto Rico.

Also on Friday, Cuba will play in the classification match for positions 5 to 8 against Honduras; and Nicaragua goes up against Costa Rica.

Mexico outperformed Cuba in every skill of the game, attack (45-22), block (6-3), and service (11-3). Cuba committed fewer unforced errors (13-18).

Aitana Rettke MEX

The top scorer of the match was Mexico’s captain, Aitana Tanguma, with 19 points on 15 kills, two blocks, and two aces. Also contributing to Mexico’s victory were middle blocker Brenda Esquivel and outside hitter Kenia Martínez, with 11 points each.

Salet Castillo once again led Cuba with 11 points.

Mexico faced little resistance from Cuba, securing the first set with a comfortable lead. In the second set, Cuba jumped to a six-point lead (7-1), but Mexico managed to recover with their service and capitalize on Cuba’s errors to tie the score at 14 points. Tanguma and Martínez’s attacks then helped Mexico stay ahead. In the third set, setter Gabriela Garza’s serves were crucial in closing the win.

Setter, Gabriela Garza, about coming behind in the second set said, “Attitude was everything; the desire to win motivated us to fight harder”. About the victory, she added, “Mexico did everything right, defense, serves, blocks, spikes, reception. Tomorrow, we hope for a good match against Canada”.

Yesica Brito, captain of Cuba, said, “It’s a very tough defeat. The team lacked focus due to the pressure of what the match meant. Mexico is a very strong team; I congratulate them”.