NOGALES, Sonora, June 18, 2022.- Puerto Rico earned their first win at the NORCECA Women’s Final Four Qualification Tournament by defeating Costa Rica 3-0 (28-26, 25-19, 25-20) on Saturday at Nogales, Sonora.
Puerto Rico won a dramatic first set after failing three set points and moving into the second set with strength to jump to an early six-point lead (14-8), finishing in three straight sets, dominating with a 47-32 advantage in kills and benefiting from 24 Costa Rican errors. Puerto Rico also led 6-2 in blocks, but Costa Rica held a slim 2-1 margin in serves.
Three players scored double-figures in Puerto Rico’s offense, led by opposite hitter Elissa Alcantara with 17 points on 15 kills and 2 blocks, outside hitter Valeria Vazquez and team captain Sofia Victoria added 11 points each.
Costa Rica was headed by outside hitters Tamara Espinoza with 11 points all on kills and Tania Carazo with 10 points also on kills.
On the last day of competition, Puerto Rico (1-1) faces host Mexico (1-0) and Costa Rica (0-2) closes with Cuba (1-0).
Elissa Alcantara, Top Scorer of Puerto Rico: “Honestly, it was about time we won; as a team we’ve been waiting for this moment, so it’s nice. In the first set we had a lot of silly mistakes, we started tipping, serving hard and making aggressive attacks. For tomorrow we are excited to face Mexico and we really want to win”.
Tania Carazo of Costa Rica: “In the first set we managed to press Puerto Rico with our serves, we took better risks with our defense despite them being offensively really good. We must work harder in defense, which is our best strength and be smarter over the net”.
Fernando Morales, Head Coach of Puerto Rico: “Costa Rica played strong the whole match, we played better than yesterday, but still committed errors from our younger players that we must improve for tomorrow. It was a match with long rallies, Costa Rica did a great job in defense, and it was difficult, it was a hard match”.
Pablo Acuña, Head Coach of Costa Rica: “Our serves were effective in the first set, tactically we executed our game plan, the energy of the girls was better than yesterday, and we were more aggressive in attacks, hitting high, looking for their hands and that helped us unbalance Puerto Rico. It was an exciting match and Puerto Rico had to work for the win. Tomorrow, we hope for fewer errors and be more aggressive in serves, go on improving”.