TEPIC, Nayarit, Mexico, July 11, 2022.- Puerto Rico opened the Men’s NORCECA Final Six Pan Am cup beating Mexico in five sets 3-2 (21-25, 25-23, 22-25, 25-23, 15-14) at the Amado Nervo Auditorium of Tepic, Nayarit.
It was a nail-biting match from start to finish and despite Mexico´s advantages in every skill, 51-47 in attacks, a comfortable 12-6 margin in blocks and 7-4 in aces, Puerto Rico won scoring 51 points on opponent errors while committing 39.
Outside hitter Klistan Lawrence with 16 points all on kills was Puerto Rico’s leading scorer, accompanied by outside hitter Pedro Molina with 10 points on 8 kills and two aces and outside hitter Pelegrin Vargas also with 10 points on 8 kills, one block and one ace.
Opposite hitter Diego González of Mexico scored a match-high of 20 points on 17 kills and three blocks, outside hitters Mauro Isaac Fuentes and Josué de Jesús Lopez contributed with 15 and 12 points respectively.
Puerto Rico (1-0) will face Dominican Republic (0-1) and Mexico (0-1) meets Canada (1-0) on Tuesday.
Klistan Lawrence, Top scorer of Puerto Rico: “This was my first international match, that’s why it was difficult, I adjusted, solved and in the end played well. Facing the host team isn’t easy, there was too much noise, the crowd influenced our concentration. It’s always important to start with a victory and mostly in the last set that has 15 points, we were able to get the victory”.
Diego González, Top scorer of Mexico: “Unfortunately we couldn’t win, we worked hard. Puerto Rico was able to adjust in the end, that’s what it’s all about. We had too many errors and couldn’t solve them. Our serves were out of rhythm, but there’s more competition ahead. Everybody comes to win, there is no easy opponent, we will give all, we’ve trained for that. Our team is young, and this is the level of play that helps us improve; it’s a long road”.
Oswald Antonetti, Head Coach of Puerto Rico: “Mexico is a great team, well trained, well prepared, they have a well-established plan, it’s clear; they came to play and it’s a pleasure to face a team like that. We are in the process of establishing our identity as a country of good volleyball, with a young group that’s trying to get to know each other better. For us the victory is very important to gain confidence for the rest of the tournament. We showed character coming from behind, what’s important is to keep our head high and rest for our next match”.
Jorge Azair, Head Coach of Mexico: “We were destroyed by our errors, we committed errors at the end of the sets, we didn’t execute our counterattacking. The only player on the team with experience is Pedro Rangel that has a knee injury, so we used him a little to take care of him. The tournament is strong, and no team is weak; this is just the beginning and we must adjust to win a medal”.