JUANA DIAZ, Puerto Rico, May 9, 2023.- Puerto Rico prevailed in straight sets (25-20, 25-17, 25- 21) against Canada in pool B of the Girls’ U19 NORCECA Pan American Cup at the Dolores Martinez Coliseum in Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico.
The home girls kept up with Canada’s pressure to open the tournament with a win but on a rollercoaster performance, coming from behind in all three sets.
Puerto Rico held a huge 42-24 advantage in kills and 11-3 in aces; Canada did better in the blocking 8-4 and committed fewer unforced errors 18-23.
Puerto Rican opposite hitter Grace Lopez scored a match-high of 22 points on 19 kills and three aces, followed by team captain Elena García who added 13 points on nine kills and two from blocks and two on aces. Outside hitter Chareika Carrion contributed with 10 points on 8 kills, two blocks and two aces.
Canada was commanded by outside hitter Mary Healy with 9 points.
Puerto Rico (1-0) faces Dominican Republic (1-0) on Wednesday and Canada (0-1) plays Honduras (0-1).
Elena García, captain of Puerto Rico: “We worked hard the entire match, we worked under pressure, we united as a team when we needed to, and we did our best. We get going under pressure. Our strength was our attitude as a team, but there’s space to improve our communication”.
Taylor de Boer, captain of Canada: “It’s definitely not the outcome we were hoping for, there were a lot of rollercoaster moments, I guess we’re still figuring out as a team how we can play and work together and this is a test for that. Puerto Rico is a solid team, with a very aggressive attacking technique and I think that really got us, they were not afraid, and we must do the same. We need to play our game and our system”.
Eduardo Galarza, coach of Puerto Rico: “The girls have prepared themselves, our culture in Puerto Rico is to work under pressure; the team performed better when they were pressured. Tomorrow there’s a strong sport rivalry with Dominican Republic, but we are good friends, it will be a good match; we will have a video session to study them, but we must start strong and not be under pressure to perform”.
Christine Biggs, coach of Canada: “Some ups and downs, there are some areas we are hoping to smooth out and clean up as we move forward, but I’m confident we’re going to be a better team next time. We got more to offer in our block-defense, there’s small adjustments to make for tomorrow’s match”.