Mexico Opens U17 Pan American Cup with Victory over Cuba

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala, May 27, 2024.- Mexico opened their participation in the first U17 Girls Pan American Cup with a 3-0 victory (25-17, 25-14, 25-20) over Cuba at the Multi-Sport Dome in Guatemala City.

Mexico (1-0) will face Dominican Republic (0-1) in their second match of Pool A, while Cuba (0-1) will play against Peru (1-0).

In the third set, Mexico came from behind (6-10), scoring four consecutive points through Cuban errors to tie at 10 points. Mexico sealed the victory in straight sets with determined kills from Karen González and Aitana Rettke.

Mexico led in attacks 35 to 22 and in aces 7 to 3. Cuba led in blocks 5 to 4 and committed 29 unforced errors compared to Mexico’s 21.

Salet Castillo CUB, defense

Only two players scored double digits, Mexico’s captain Aitana Rettke with 17 points (16 kills, one block) and Cuba’s outside hitter Salet Castillo with 14 points (10 kills, 2 blocks, 2 aces).

Aitana Rettke, Mexico’s captain, explained that they have a great responsibility being the current NORCECA champions, but they felt very confident in the first match, “we started very well, a strong three-set victory gives us greater confidence”. Regarding the coach’s substitutions, she said, “We all contribute to the team, each of us has different skills and sometimes a change is needed, and the result was accomplished”.

Mexico’s coach Ignacio Sánchez Palmeros expressed that part of the process is that the team does not maintain high intensity levels throughout the match, “we need to work on that; one way is through substitutions that risk the result but help them grow as a team, raising the level of volleyball in Mexico and showing that they must give their all”. He added that the team dreams big.

Cuba’s captain, Yesica Brito, said that her team did well in reception, but their performance was not as expected due to nerves, “this was the first match and it was against a strong team, the NORCECA champions; what went wrong today will not happen again”.