Puerto Rico Take Gold at Girls U17 Pan American Cup

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala, June 1, 2024.- Puerto Rico defeated Peru 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 31-29) to take the Gold Medal of the inaugural edition of the Girls U17 Pan American Cup, which concluded on Saturday at Guatemala’s City Dome.

Puerto Rico won the gold medal undefeated, with a 5-0 record and 5-1 mark in sets. Peru, the silver medalist, finished with a 4-1 record and a 12-6 record in sets.

In a dramatic finish where Peru denied five match points, Puerto Rico led in attack (53-40), blocking (6-2), and serving (5-2) but conceded 26 points on errors against 17.

Peru Silver Medal

Outside hitter Decilise Annalee Champion led her team to win the gold medal with a match-high of 24 points on 23 attacks and one block. Sara Lozano contributed 18 points on15 attacks and a match-high of 3 blocks. Team captain Kalia Alvarado registered 13 points on 11 attacks and two aces.

Middle blocker Camila Monge was Peru’s leading scorer with 9 points, all from kills, followed by outside hitters Brenda Quiroz and Ariana Vásquez with 7 points each.

Camila Monje PER

Juan Carlos Núñez, coach of Puerto Rico, said they were able to apply pressure with their serving and had significant strength from the outside hitters. He also explained, “It was a game of long rallies because both teams controlled the ball well”. The team worked hard for the victory, “We had to earn our points because Peru didn’t give away many errors”. Elaborating on the match, he said, “We had two good sets, and in the third, we had many opportunities, but it came down to a dramatic finish, which was a good experience for the players. They felt the pressure, anxiety, and we couldn’t make the double substitution. These circumstances arose due to lack of experience; they are 15-year-old girls”.

Brazilian Antonio Rizola, coach of Peru, said he was proud of his team. He explained that Puerto Rico’s experience was evident, “They are a more mature team, despite being the same age, they live and know more about the game than our team, and we felt that weight”. Regarding the last set, he said, “Everyone expected Peru to give up, but that wasn’t the case. We made three serving errors because of anxiety, but this helps them grow and mature”. He concluded by saying, “I am very happy”.