Brenda Castillon MVP at the 2023 NORCECA Championship

QUEBEC CITY, Canada, September 03, 2023:  Dominican Brenda Castillo was named as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) at the 2023 NORCECA Senior Women’s Volleyball Continental Championship during the awarding ceremony at the PEPS’ Amphithéatre Desjardins-Université Laval, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

Brenda Castillo of the Dominican Republic was not only a crowd favorite during the gold-medal match with the USA, along with the  MVP award she was presented as the Best Digger and Best Libero.

Her teammate Lisvel Eve Mejia was the Best Server.

Individual Awards 2023 NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship

From team USA, Justine Wong-Orantes and Jordan Thompson were awarded as the Best Receiver and Best Opposite respectively.

The two Best Spikers went to Kiera Van Ryk and Alexa Gray of Canada. Also from Canada, Emily Maglio was recognized as the Second Best Blocker and Brie King as the Best Setter.

From Puerto Rico, Neima Ortiz was granted the award for First Best Blocker and Paola Santiago the Best Scorer.

Dominican Republic wins epic match over USA for Gold

QUEBEC CITY, CANADA. Sept. 03, 2023:  In a thrilling final, Dominican Republic upset USA for gold in five sets: 3-2 (12-25, 25-21,19-25, 25-19, 15-13), winning their fourth NORCECA title at the 2023 NORCECA Senior Women’s Volleyball Continental Championship at the PEPS’ Amphithéatre Desjardins-Université Laval.

This is Dominican Republic fourth gold medal in the history of the event and third consecutive one (2009, 2019, 2021, 2023).

After beating Canada in the semis yesterday, the “Reinas Del Caribe” excited the crowd coming back after a poor showing in the first set against the reigning Olympic gold medalists, only to win the second. It was then back and forth, with USA leading in attack 60-53, Dominican led in blocking (9-8). USA had 7 aces compared with 3 for the winning side. USA lost more points to errors 31-28.  

Jordan Thompson led all scoring with 21 points – 17 from attack, 3 blocks, and a serve. Brayelin Martinez contributed 20 points – 18 from attack, and 2 blocks.  

Both teams now enter the Olympic Qualification tournaments later this month.  

Canada won bronze over Cuba earlier in the day.  

Brenda Castillo of Dominican Republic MVP

Marcos Kwiek, head coach of Dominican Republic:  “We are very happy about the victory, for having achieved our goal. We prepared for this tournament, which was very important to us. We started the game poorly, they put a lot of pressure on us, but we managed to turn the match around by playing with a lot of discipline, and that was the best part. A 3-2 game was a spectacle for the crowd, very exciting, the defense played very well, and we delivered.” 

Brenda Castillo, MVP from Dominican Republic: “I am very happy about this great victory. We truly played as a team, and that’s what helped us. I am very pleased with the big win against this team, which is the A team of the United States. Thanks to the crowd, wherever we go, there are always many lovely people who support us, many blessings to them.” 

Karch Kiraly, head coach de Estados Unidos:  “Congratulations to the Dominican, they made some nice adjustments (after losing the first set). They played a great game – an exceptional game for them and the gold medal. I’m disappointed to be on the losing end of that. Dominican is a quality team and they showed it especially after the first game tonight. They threw more at us than we could handle.” 

Canada wins the bronze at the Women’s Continental Championship

QUEBEC CITY, CANADA. September 03, 2023:   Canada pleased its sold-out home crowd today, winning the bronze medal 3-1(25-21, 25-17, 17-25, 25-16) over Cuba on the final day of the 2023 NORCECA Senior Women’s Volleyball Continental Championship at the PEPS’ Amphithéatre Desjardins-Université Laval.

Canada’s offense produced 53 attack points, compared with 47 for Cuba; dominated in blocking (16-8). Cuba led in service aces 7-5 and errors were 17-18 in Canada’s favor.

Kiera Van Ryk of Canada again led all scoring with 24 points; followed by teammates Jazmine White (14, including 6 blocks), Hilary Howe (10) and Emily Maglio (10).

Greisy Fine led Cuba in scoring with 16 points.  Cuba finishes fourth overall.

Team Canada Kiera Van Ryk digs the ball against Cuba

Shannon Winzer, head coach of Canada:  “I thought the third set was messy, but while we struggled again with first contact in the first two sets, we showed some patience. We know that we are a physical team, compared with Cuba, and we really wanted to show that today. It wasn’t the cleanest volleyball we have played this week, but we did what we had to do to pull off the win. I think it was a real team effort today.

This is preparation for the Olympic qualifier – we wanted to try out some subs in a few different situations and we wanted to try out different lineups and starting rotations. Coming away top three in NORCECA is excellent, but it’s also good preparation. We had a chance to play the Dominican team, who we will face again in China, and we had a good showing against them and learned a lot.”

Hilary Howe, player of Canada: “We went into this tournament really wanting to gun for the final; so the bronze-medal match is always challenging when you want to be in the final. But I’m proud that pulled it together and did the best we could to get the medal and finish strong in the tournament.  It was good for us to come together and compete again before the Olympic Qualifier.”

Osmani García, head coach of Cuba: “It was a match that was defined by anxiety. The inexperience of some players led to anxiety during the game, but we believe that we are still progressing as a team. We won a set and in all of them, we were ahead of Canada, but we couldn’t maintain the lead due to the pressure of competing for a medal; dominating this pressure can only be achieved through playing, having competitive experience, and not just training. We still have many things to work on with this young team, and we have high hopes for continuing to elevate Cuban women’s volleyball.”

Puerto Rico is sixth at the Continental Championship

QUEBEC CITY, CANADA. Sept. 03, 2023: Puerto Rico capped off the 2023 NORCECA Senior Women’s Volleyball Continental Championship in Quebec with a win and sixth place overall.

Puerto Rico defeated Costa Rica 3-0 (25-13, 25-7, 25-9) today in the classification for places six and seven.

Outside hitter Paola Santiago of Puerto Rico led all scoring with 19 points – 15 attack points, 2 blocks and 2 ace serves.

Puerto Rico dominated in all skills – attack 34-14, blocks 18-2, aces 6-1 and gained 17 points from Costa Rican errors (compared with 12 errors on the winning team’s side).  

Puerto Rico celebrates a point against Costa Rica

Player Paola Santiago of Puerto Rico : “We knew the NORCECA tournament was going to be a tough tournament for us – we knew were going to face the United States, Canada, Dominican Republic, really high-level volleyball teams. We came in with a winning attitude, but it wasn’t what we expected. I’m glad we ended on a good note as we are getting ready for the Paris 2024 tournament. This is the highest-level competition that we’ve faced this summer.” 

Fernando Morales, head coach of Puerto Rico : “It was good to end this tournament on a high note. We have the Olympic qualification tournament (in Japan) coming up soon. So hopefully we can get back to training to prepare for that tournament. … We will have a couple more players in Japan, so we feel thiswas good preparation for the players here.” 

Jose Miguel Brinceño, head coach of Costa Rica: “We came to this Norceca Championship with a team of young players, some with experience. During the tournament, we faced very tough matches against the United States, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and today against Puerto Rico, all of which pushed us to our limits. We believe that we improved as the tournament went on. At times, our serving improved, and we were able to put pressure some teams with our serves, but blocking remained a constant challenge due to the strong attacks from our opponents. However, the learning was that we can compete at times against top teams, considering that our main strength was good defense, a lot of courage in those second-ball plays. We hope to continue participating in these tournaments to keep learning and improving.” 

Dominican Republic lands in final after battle with Canada

QUEBEC CITY, CANADA. Sept. 02, 2023:  In front of over 2,500 loud home crowd fans, Canada fell to Dominican Republic 1-3 (25-27, 22-25, 25-23, 20-25) today the 2023 NORCECA Senior Women’s Volleyball Continental Championship at the PEPS’ Amphithéatre Desjardins-Université Laval.

The contest was close, with both teams exchanging leads throughout the match.  Dominican Republic took a more commanding lead (17-9) in the fourth set, but still Canada thrilled the crowd in an attempted comeback, only to see Dominican close the set 20-25.

Gaila Gonzalez led the Dominican team effort with 16 points (13 attack points; 1 block and 2 aces); following by Yonkaira Peña with 15.

Canada’s Kiera Van Ryk led all scorers with 25 points.  

Although Canada led in attack points (58-53), the Dominican team led in block points (11-8) and ace serves (8-2).  Dominican received more points from Canada’s errors (28-24) 

The “Reinas Del Caribe” now face the United States in the gold-medal match on Sunday.  

PEPS’ Amphithéatre Desjardins-Université Laval.

Marcos Kwiek, head coach of Dominican Republic:  “It was a very difficult match. We knew we needed this victory to reach the final and secure a medal. We studied Canada extensively, the girls gave their all, and I’m happy with the work they did. I congratulate Canada for the great match. Matches against Canada are always highly competitive. We trained hard, and the girls knew what they had to do; sometimes, under the pressure of the game, a player might stray, but the instruction was for them to stick to the game plan. Now, it’s time to focus on the United States.”

Shannon Winzer, head coach of Canada: “It wasn’t the result we wanted, but I actually thought we played pretty good volleyball. I thought at no stage did we give up. Everyone who came on court did really well and I thought we battled. It’s hard to lose a game like that knowing we played pretty good volleyball, but Dominican has been playing great volleyball. They were the team that came up on top tonight. We want that bronze; our goal has been top three and we would have like to be in that gold-medal match, but we’ll take a bronze. Cuba has been playing well, so we have to re-group and re-focus”.

USA advances to gold-medal match at Women’s Continental Championship

QUEBEC CITY, CANADA. September 03, 2023:The United States swept Cuba 3-0 today to advance to the final of the 2023 NORCECA Senior Women’s Volleyball Continental Championship at the PEPS’ Amphithéatre Desjardins-Université Laval.

Despite a solid effort from the Cuban side, the score was 3-0 (25-12, 25-11, 25-16), with USA dominating in attack points (40-18), blocking (10-5), serving (11-1), but with Cuba making one less error than the United States (14-15).

U.S. opposite Jordan Thompson led scoring with 13 points, followed by teammates Jordan Larson (12) and Dana Rettke with 11 points.  Greisy Fine led Cuba with 9 points.

The gold medal match will be held on Sunday evening.

Team USA Jordan Larson smashes the ball against Cuba

Karch Kiraly, head coach of USA, “Our group was dialed in as far as what we wanted to execute. … We’re excited about playing for a gold medal tomorrow. We’re feeling we are prepared and are excited to play our fifth and final match tomorrow.”

Jordan Larson, player, USA: “We are just trying to get better every day as a team. No matter who is on the side of the net, we’re just really focusing on our side and what we can do better. So I think we’re prepping and it’s good competition to get us ready for what’s to come. … We are trying to be as solid and consistent as we can and approaching each day like it’s a new challenge.”

Osmani García, head coach of Cuba: “We were aware that today’s match was going to be uphill because the United States is one of the top four best teams in the world. Nevertheless, as a coach I am glad because we executed things on court that we hadn’t accomplished in other matches, such as combinations and aggressiveness. There were rallies in which we put up with the pressure but obviously the United States is a great team. We will keep on focusing on improving our team for what’s left in the tournament and the rest of the year.”

Mexico finishes fifth at the Continental Championship

QUEBEC CITY, CANADA. Sept. 02, 2023: In the clash for fifth place, Mexico was able to control the match and defeat Puerto Rico 3-0 (25-22, 32-30, 25-22) today at the 2023 NORCECA Senior Women’s Volleyball Continental Championship in Quebec.

Much like their five-set clash during the pool stage, the two teams were fairly evenly matched on the court, exchanging leads and forcing the second set into overtime. Mexico led in attack points 54-49, and service aces 6-2. Puerto Rico had a slightly more effective block (7-5). The teams both gave up 16 points each to errors.

Aime Topete of Mexico led all scorers with 18 points, on13 attack points, 1 block and 4 aces.  

Outside hitter Paola Santiago contributed 17 points to the losing side.  

Puerto Rico now faces Costa Rica on Sunday for the final sixth and seventh classification spots. 

Match action Mexico against Puerto Rico

Nicola Negro, head coach of Mexico: “Yesterday (after the loss to Puerto Rico in five sets) I said we have a second chance.  You don’t always get a second chance…  Today, in the second and third sets we came back from gaps, and this is a good sign. Fifth place in NORCECA is a start for us; we are working with a new generation of players. It’s a long path and now we have the Olympic qualifier in front of us, which will be a great experience for these players. Some rest, and then we will focus on that.” 

Ivonne Martinez, Mexico player (setter): “We knew that it was going to be a hard game and that we couldn’t relax at any moment. I think we were very disciplined in some aspects, such as defense. We served really well. We study them a lot, so when we were down we played ball by ball and we stayed calm. We had a lot of attitude and a good spirit during this match.” 

Fernando Morales, head coach of Puerto Rico, “I think it was a good match overall, Mexico just closed the sets better than us. I think we played better than yesterday. We are missing some of our key players, and we’re learning to play without them and it’s been hard. We have another chance tomorrow to close the tournament with a win (for sixth place against Costa Rica).”  

Dominican Republic to face Canada in semifinals after beating Mexico

QUEBEC CITY, CANADA. Sept 01, 2023 : Dominican Republic took care of business today, beating Mexico 3-0 (25-17, 25-10, 25-12) to advance to the semifinals of the 2023 NORCECA Senior Women’s Volleyball Continental Championship at the PEPS’ Amphithéatre Desjardins-Université Laval.

Dominican Republic overwhelmed Mexico in attack 34-17, blocking 13-3, as well as serving up 8 aces (compared with none for Mexico) and made one fewer error than the losing side (20-19). 

Outside hitter Yonkaira Peña was top scorer for the winning side, with 11 attack points and one ace. Brayelin Martinez contributed 11 points.   

Dominican libero Brenda Castillo was named “player of the game” for her outstanding defensive play.  

The “Reinas Del Caribe” play home crowd favorites Canada in the semifinals on Saturday. Cuba plays the United States.  

Dominicans celebrate defeating Mexico

Marcos Kwiek, head coach of Dominican Republic: “It was a good match. We played very solid, very focused. The blocking was excellent. The defense adjusted well, and the players executed what we’ve studied. I am very satisfied with the team today. Now, it’s time to prepare well for the semifinal match against Canada tomorrow.” 

Nicola Negro, head coach of Mexico: “Definitely a tough match for us, we know the potential of the attack of the Dominican team, but today they did a great job also in block and defense. The entered the court so aggressive against us. We could play with them in the first set, but from the second set they really made it hard for us. We know that we have some distance with this type of team and we have to work to reduce this gap. But for us, now we focus on tomorrow and we have a chance to finish fifth. We play against Puerto Rico and of course we are still not happy about the way the match turned out yesterday and now we have a second chance against them tomorrow.”

Cuba advances to semifinals of Continental Championship

QUEBEC CITY, CANADA. Sept. 01, 2023:  With a 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-22) win over Puerto Rico today, Cuba secures a spot in the semifinals of the 2023 NORCECA Senior Women’s Volleyball Continental Championship, held at the PEPS’ Amphithéatre Desjardins-Université Laval in Quebec.

Even though it was a sweep, Puerto Rico kept it competitive in all three sets. Cuba led in attack (41-37), and service aces 4-2 as well as picking up more points from their opponent’s errors (22-18). Puerto Rico slightly led in blocking points (9-8)

Greisy Fine of Cuba led all scoring with 18 points and was named “player of the game.”

Paola Santiago (13) and Alondra Vázquez (12) led the scoring effort for Puerto Rico.

Cuba will face either Canada or the USA in Saturday’s semifinals.

Cuba blocking Puerto Rico

Fernando Morales, head coach of Puerto Rico, “We never found the rhythm of our game and I think that’s been the story of the whole tournament. We have a young group that’s played a lot of tournaments, I think this is our fifth this year, and it’s no excuse but they are showing signs of fatigue. We have to find a way to manage it better so we can be better for the last two games, and we’re going to try to come back stronger tomorrow.”

Osmani García, head coach of Cuba: “Today, we are very pleased with the team because despite the injuries and all the complications we have experienced since coming from the Dominican Republic, we talked to the players and did a tactical job that worked perfectly. The team’s fighting spirit continues to grow. The team is coming together like a family in volleyball. We are very happy. We gave the due respect to Puerto Rico, which has a high level, they play very good volleyball, but today things went in our favor.”

USA advances to semis after win over Dominican Republic

QUEBEC CITY, CANADA. August 31, 2023: Two top NORCECA teams faced off tonight in Quebec City at the 2023 NORCECA Senior Women’s Volleyball Continental Championship, which runs until September 3 at the PEPS’ Amphithéatre Desjardins-Université Laval.

It was Olympic gold medalists USA who came out on top 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-16) despite a strong start by Dominican Republic.

USA was strong in its offense, and took 39 points on attack, compared with 33 by the Caribbean nation. The US also led in blocks (10-7) and made fewer errors 17, compared with 25. Dominican led in aces (3-1).

It was a team effort by USA, with Jordan Thompson leading in scoring with 15 points. Yonkaira Paola Peña and Brayelin Martinez led Dominican with 12 points each.

The win puts USA in the semis, while the Dominicans face Mexico at 5 pm Eastern time tomorrow in the quarterfinals. Puerto Rico and Cuba will play in the second quarterfinal at 7:30 pm local time.

Team USA celebrates a point against Team Dominican Republic

Karch Kiraly, head coach of USA: “Dominican is a really good team and a very dangerous team that eliminated Serbia from this year’s VNL; that beat China, the silver medalist in VNL. We love it when we get a chance to play a really good team across the net. They started pushing us right out of the gate; we were not clean at all (in the first set). The good news was that we got better as we went along.”

Marcos Kwiek, head coach of Dominican Republic: “I think we played two very good sets, at a high level, we started well, point by point. We dropped our intensity in the third set. The United States is a team that’s very tough to face if you stop serving well because they play very fast. We had some good moments, and we need to take advantage of these matches at this level, these opportunities are good for our team’s growth. Now, we need to prepare well to face Mexico in the quarterfinals, we’ll study them, train for it tomorrow, and be ready.”

Puerto Rico takes Mexico down in five sets

QUEBEC CITY, CANADA. August 31, 2023: The 2023 NORCECA Senior Women’s Volleyball Continental Championship saw its first five-set match today, with Puerto Rico beating Mexico 3-2 (27-25, 17-25, 14-25, 25-23, 15-11).

The first set was a back-and-forth battle, but Mexico handily won the next two. Puerto Rico adjusted its strategy to come back and win the fourth set and tie-break.

Despite the loss, Mexico had the edge in attack points (65-61), blocks (15-12), aces (6-2) and the teams were equal in errors at 23.

Mexico’s Grecia Castro López led scoring with 23 points; while Puerto Rico’s Paola Santiago was the winning teams top scorer with 20.

Puerto Rico will face Cuba in the quarterfinals tomorrow.

The tournament runs through to September 3 at the PEPS’ Amphithéatre Desjardins-Université Laval, Quebec.

Team Puerto Rico celebrates their victory against Team Mexico

Fernando Morales, head coach of Puerto Rico: “Puerto Rico against Mexico is always a really hard match and almost always five sets. They came out strong and we didn’t… the first set made it possible to go to five…. We adjusted our block, which was all over the place in the first three sets and then we adjusted – we blocked a lot of balls and it gave us a chance to dig a lot of balls in transition. … We are happy as we wanted to finish second and get a better match-up in the quarterfinals.” 

Nicola Negro, head coach of Mexico: “It was a game that I think honestly we could have closed 3-0. We managed the end of the first set really badly; and then won two sets at 17 and 14, so we could have put a big difference between us and Puerto Rico. But then when you let them come back, this is a team that knows how to play. The fourth set was point by point, and the tie-break we were already in a difficult position. This was a big chance for us to play Cuba tomorrow (in the quarterfinals) and to think that we could say something in this competition. But I know we have to work a lot – first of all on our mentality before the technical part of the game.” 

Cuba earns its first win at the Continental Championship

QUEBEC CITY, CANADA. August 31, 2023: Cuba swept a young Costa Rican squad 3-0 (25-18, 25-11, 25-9) as Group B pool play continued Thursday afternoon at the 2023 NORCECA Senior Women’s Volleyball Continental Championship in Quebec, which runs from August 29 to September 3 at the PEPS’ Amphithéatre Desjardins-Université Laval.

Today, Cuba dominated in all skills – attacking 36-25, blocking 10-2, serving 9-0 and earned 20 points from Costa Rica’s errors (opposed to 11 errors on the Cuban side).

Cuban Ivy Vila Wittingham led all scoring with 14 (10 attacking points, 2 blocks and 2 aces).

Tamara Espinoza Rojas led Costa Rica in points with 10 (9 attacking points and 1 block).

Cuba advances to the tournament quarter finals, which are held on Friday.

Cuba celebrates against Costa Rica

Regla Torres, assistant coach of Cuba: “The team looked a bit better both in blocking and serving, but we would have liked to see what we saw today in the previous matches. The United States and the Dominican Republic are higher-level teams, and it seems to me that our team was under pressure. Hopefully, this is a step forward for the upcoming games.”  

Jose Miguel Brinceño, coach of Costa Rica: “We are happy with the first set against Cuba, we knew we could have a better performance than we did against the United States and the Dominican Republic, however, we didn’t maintain the same level of attack and confidence during the second and third sets. We made some changes, aiming for a better block in position two, but we are lacking in blocking our opponents. Our serving was good, we targeted the sidelines and avoided serving to the libero. Cuba’s attacking power was greater than ours.”

Canada sweeps Puerto Rico to clinch spot in semifinals

Quebec City, CANADA. August 30, 2023: Canada won their second-straight match of the 2023 NORCECA Senior Women’s Volleyball Continental Championship in Quebec City, earning a bye to the semifinals on September 2.

Despite a hard push from Puerto Rico in the third and ultimately final set, the Canadians took the match 3-0 (25-18, 25-13, 25-23), marking their second sweep in as many games. With the win, Canada clinched first place in Group A, allowing them to move past the quarterfinals and into the top-four. They’ll now see how the results play out over the next two days of the tournament before finding out who they’ll face in the semifinals.

Captain Alexa Gray led scoring with 12, followed closely by Emily Maglio and Kiera Van Ryk with 11.

Canada led in both attacks (35-29) and block points (14-6), while Puerto Rico had one more ace than Canada 2-1.

On the Puerto Rican roster, it was Neira Ortiz, Elaine Vazquez Rivera, Pilar Marie Victoria, who carried the team in points with eight apiece. 

Canada celebrates victory against Puerto Rico

Fernando Morales, head coach of Puerto Rico: “I think we played a great match. We know they’re a great team and they played a great match, so when they play at that level it’s hard. We didn’t play our best match either. We came back in that third set and that was important for us. Knowing how important tomorrow’s game is for us, ending on that note is very important. We’re going to go study the game, study Mexico, and we know that our chances to be in the top four – that was our main goal – it’s 90 percent of winning tomorrow so we have a better quarterfinal crossover sitting in second than third.”

“We were trying to get back to 100 percent, we had two players out sick and one injured so we’re trying to move them around and see what works best for us. Hopefully by tomorrow we get a good rhythm and can finish the tournament on a good note. Tomorrow is the most important match of the tournament for us. If we win tomorrow, then we get a good rhythm going into the quarterfinals and then to that top four.”

Shannon Winzer, head coach of Canada: “I thought we played good volleyball tonight, we were pretty clean. I thought Brie (King) did a great job of running the offense. What we saw was Puerto Rico really show up and battle towards the end. They played amazing defense and it made for an exciting finish. I thought we executed the game plan well and we played good volleyball.”

“I think we’ll probably take one day off and then get back to practice. We’re going to have a really strong opponent on Saturday, so making sure that we’re well rested but also that we’re really sharp and prepared for that game. I think it’s no different then when we’re playing VNL when we get that day or two off.”

Dominican Republic now 2-0 after win over Costa Rica

QUEBEC CITY, CANADA. August 30, 2023: Dominican Republic has two wins in Group B after sweeping Costa Rica today at the 2023 NORCECA Senior Women’s Volleyball Continental Championship in Quebec, Canada.

The Reinas del Caribe dominated their less experienced opponents 3-0 (25-13, 25-11, 25-10).

The Dominican team was stronger in all skills – attack (45-20), blocking (6-2), aces (5-1) and made fewer errors (11-19).

Dominican players Candida Arias, Vielka Peralta, Madeline Guillén shared top scoring honors with 10 points apiece.  Outside hitter Tamara Espinoza Rojas led Costa Rica with 8 points.

The tournament runs from August 29 to September 3 at the PEPS’ Amphithéatre Desjardins-Université Laval, with medal matches held on Sunday.

Dominican Republic attacks against Costa Rica

Marcos Kwiek, head coach of Dominican Republic: “Now we must prepare for tomorrow’s match, to close pool-play, and to determine the first place in the pool. It’s a very important and challenging game. We have faced the United States many times, the matches are very close, but they have star players in their team. Today was a good game to give rest to key players who are important and need to be more rested for tomorrow. Now we are going to study videos and try to do our best for a good match tomorrow.”

Jose Miguel Brinceno, coach of Costa Rica: “I consider that today against the Dominican Republic, we had a better performance than yesterday; yesterday we showed a lot of respect to the United States. We have faced the Dominican Republic in other tournaments, and that gave us more confidence that we could play better today. We had several strong plays in defense, attack, and even in blocking. I am satisfied with the game we showed. However, throughout the tournament, we will progress and improve, and against Cuba tomorrow, I hope we have an even better performance. In this match, our middle blocker Nhya (number 18) was the most important player in attack; she is a player with a great future, being only 16 years old, and she played very well against a very high-level opponent. Overall, the team did not hold back in any aspect against a strong rival.”

Cuba succumbs to USA on day two of the NORCECA Championships

QUEBEC CITY, Canada. August 30, 2023 : Team USA’s strong offense was too much for a young Cuban squad today at the 2023 NORCECA Senior Women’s Volleyball Continental Championship in Quebec, Canada, which runs from August 29 to September 3 at the PEPS’ Amphithéatre Desjardins-Université Laval.

USA won 3-0 (25-8, 25-17, 25-14) – earning 43 points on attack; compared with 20 by Cuba. Cuba led in blocking 5-2, but USA led in aces 6-1. USA picked up 24 points from Cuba’s errors, compared with 13.

US opposite Andrea Drews led scoring with 15 points and was named “player of the game.”

USA is 2-0 in Group B with one remaining match vs Dominican Republic on Thursday night; Cuba is 0-2 and faces Costa Rica next.

UnitedTeam USA Chiaka Ogbogu hits a shot against Team Cuba  States vs Cuba

Karch Kiraly, head coach of USA: “Every point of every match is important here, but our team is doing a nice job of controlling the things that we’ve been working on in terms of our first ball touch and our service pressure … We are looking forward playing Dominican Republic – we have a lot of respect for them; it’s a great team, one of the great teams in our zone. We’ve played them a lot in the last 10 years plus.. it’s wonderful to face the challenge that they present.”

Osmani García, head coach of Cuba: “We knew we would face the Olympic champion, one of the best teams in the world, and our athletes brought an individual commitment for technical-tactical development. The first set was played with a lot of insecurity; they entered feeling a lot of pressure. Later, as the game dynamic progressed, there was some improvement, not as much as desired, but the players’ mood improved, and they started gaining confidence. Some blocks worked, which was what we had planned. The counterattacks were varied. We’re not happy, we’re not satisfied, but the team continues to grow little by little.”

Canada impresses home crowd with opener win in Quebec

Quebec City, CANADA. August 29, 2023: Canada recorded a win in the team’s opening match of the 2023 NORCECA Senior Women’s Volleyball Continental Championship in Quebec, which runs from August 29 to September 3.

In Group A, Canada defeated Mexico 3-0 (25-20, 25-18, 25-20) in front of a supportive home audience at the PEPS’ Amphithéatre Desjardins-Université Laval in Quebec City.

Team captain Alexa Gray led the charge with 15 points; followed by Emily Maglio (14) and Kiera Van Ryk (13).

Canada led in attack (43-32), block points (9-6) and service aces (5-3). Canada picked up 18 points from Mexico errors, compared with 17.

Outside hitter Grecia Castro López was the top scorer on the Mexican side with 14 points.

Brie King of Canada setting against Mexico

Nicola Negro, head coach of Mexico: “I congratulate my players for their performance because we arrived here in a difficult situation, most of us only last night, very late. Our setter was sick just before the game, but the girls that were on the court showed a good will and spirit.There is a difference between us and Canada, especially in attack – that’s the big gap. We put a bit of pressure on serve, but they had solutions for us in transition because of their quality of play.  It’s a small pool of three teams, so the second match is key for us. We need to recover and bring our energy against Puerto Rico.”

Shannon Winzer, head coach of Canada: “I do think that we showed up with a little bit of nerves today and we played through that. I don’t think we played the cleanest volleyball to start off. But we found some rhythm and by the third set we looked more like ourselves. It was great to start off with a game like this and hopefully have some momentum going into the match with Puerto Rico tomorrow. Mexico is a tough serving team and I thought we did a good job coming around to controlling first contact after a rough start.”

Dominican Republic opens with a sweep of Cuba

Quebec City, Canada, August 29, 2023:  Today Dominican Republic beat Cuba in pool play of the 2023 NORCECA Senior Women’s Volleyball Continental Championship in Quebec, Canada, which runs from August 29 to September 3 at the PEPS’ Amphithéatre Desjardins-Université Laval.

Dominican Republic looked strong from the opening serve to win 3-0 (25-14, 25-17, 25-16) over its Caribbean rivals.

Greisy Fine was a bright spot for Cuba, leading all scoring with 10 points.

Outside hitter Brayelin Martinez led the Dominican offense with 9 points – 6 attacks, 2 blocks and an ace.

Dominican Republic led in all skills – attack 35-24; blocks 14-8; services points 6-1 and made the most of Cuba’s 20 errors.

These teams are in Group B with USA and Costa Rica; while Mexico, Puerto Rico and home crowd favorites are in Group A.

Yonkaira Peña (DOM) attacks against Cuba

Marcos Kwiek, head coach of Dominican Republic: “It was a good start. Beginning a tournament by winning a match 3-0 is good, but we need to keep working hard towards the goals we want to achieve in this competition. Today, the goal was to give rhythm to players who were coming from a break and who had only been training; almost all the players had the opportunity to play.” 

Osmani García, head coach of Cuba: “We knew that the match against the Dominican Republic was going to be tough; the Dominican Republic is a high-level team and should reach the podium here. Actually, our team didn’t perform even at 50% of its capabilities, even though we are aware of injuries and some accumulated fatigue. They lacked attitude on the court that we need to recover during the rest of the event to perform better in the competition.”

USA opens NORCECA Championship with a dominant win 

Quebec City, Canada, August 29, 2023:  The 2023 NORCECA Senior Women’s Volleyball Continental Championship in Quebec, Canada, began today at the PEPS’ Amphithéatre Desjardins-Université Laval.

In the opening match, the U.S. team took an early lead over Costa Rica, showcasing their experience and skill, and didn’t look back – quickly winning 3-0 (25-3, 25-13, 25-5)

USA opposite Jordan Thompson led scoring with 16 points. Dana Rettke contributed 13 points.

USA led in attack points (43-12), blocking (8-1) and service points (8-1). Nicole Mata led scoring for Costa Rica with 4 points.

Pool play continues through to August 31, followed by playoffs over the weekend.

United States celebrates against Costa Rica

Karch Kiraly, head coach of USA: “I thought our team today did a really nice job of honoring our opponent by playing really hard against them; and honoring the game. We took care of the things that we could control – we’ve been working hard over the last few weeks on the speed of our offense and that really showed. So, some nice things coming out of today. “

Jose Miguel Brinceño, coach of Costa Rica: “It was a match that demanded a lot from us. We have a young team against a highly experienced American team, they are the Olympic champions. We had some flashes of good plays, but blocking was one of our weaknesses. Our serving was relatively good, but we were up against a strong team.” 

Coaches looking ahead to an important competition in Canada

QUEBEC, Canada, August 28, 2023.- The 2023 NORCECA Senior Women’s Volleyball Continental Championship in Quebec, Canada, runs from August 29 to September 3 at the PEPS’ Amphithéatre Desjardins-Université Laval.

Shannon Winzer, head coach of Canada: “This really important for ranking points, but whenever we are playing within our region, we want to be one of the top teams.  The last time we played in the NORCECA Championship we were third and our intention is to improve on that result, and we want to see ourselves in that gold-medal game. I think this sets the tone for the rest of the summer – I think we’re in a really good spot. Playing at home is so exciting – the environment that they have created here in Quebec is amazing to be part of it. It adds an extra element of wanting to do our best on this stage.”

Jose Miguel Brinceño, coach of Costa Rica: “The expectations we have are that there will be a lot of learning from the team we’re bringing, which is quite young. We have under 19 players, some players who are starting in the senior team process, and players who have had significant international participation. We hope that these players fit in well and that in the upcoming years, they become a strong foundation for the senior team. “We want to learn from the best teams, participate in the best way, and give our best performance in every match, so that with each game we improve progressively.”

Osmani García, head coach of Cuba: “We arrived here right after a very strong tournament in the Dominican Republic, and our group is still covered in the dust from the plane. The expectations will be to strategize day by day and seek the highest number of ranking points. At this moment, we are not qualified for the pre-Olympic events; we are looking to form a group towards the Pan American Games.”

Marcos Kwiek, head coach of Dominican Republic: “It’s my first time competing here in Canada with the Dominican team; I’ve been with the team for 16 years and it’s my first time here. We are very excited with the tournament. It’s a very important tournament. I don’t take this as a preparation tournament, it’s a very important tournament, it’s part of the Olympic qualifier. We are here to compete at a great level, it’s obvious that every team here wants the same goal, and we are one more team who wants to win the tournament; it’s part of our preparation for the qualification for the Olympic Games”.

Victor Javier Gutierrez, manager of Mexico: “Mexico always comes to do the best possible in all events, and this time is no exception, so we expect a good event for Mexico. It will be a great competition; apparently, the teams that are here are coming with their top players, so it will be a strong and interesting competition.”

Fernando Morales, head coach of Puerto Rico, “We’re looking to be in the last four, the semifinals. So we will try to win our group and be directly in the semifinals. If not, the goal is to win the quarterfinal match and then after that try to get a medal. But our first objective is to be in those semifinals.

We have had a good summer so far; we have played in three tournaments and in all those tournaments we have been in the finals. We know this will be a harder, but we want to be in that semifinals and fight for a medal.” 

Karch Kiraly, head coach of United States: “We’re really excited about competing in our zone in our Continental Championship; they happen every two years and are really important in our ranking points – they often happen at the end of the season when teams are trying to reach their peak and hone their game. It’s not only a great test in itself, but also great preparation for the many teams who are here who will be competing very soon afterward in the Olympic qualification process. This is an important combination of tournaments. “We love playing great competition across the next. … We’re looking forward to that.”

NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship to take place in Quebec

QUEBEC, Canada, August 28, 2023.- The 2023 NORCECA Senior Women’s Volleyball Continental Championship will be taking place in Quebec, Canada, running from August 29 to September 3at the PEPS’ Amphithéatre Desjardins-Université Laval.

Seven women’s national teams will be competing during six days, including the defending Olympic champions the United States, NORCECA defending champions the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Costa Rica, Mexico, Puerto Rico and host Canada.  

Teams are divided in two groups, Pool A consisting of Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico, while Cuba, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and the United States are in Pool B.

After the first three days of pool-play, pool winners advance into semifinals, second and third places will contest in quarterfinals.

The tournament will be livestreamed on:

Cuba is the top winner in the history of the event with 13 titles, 7 silver and 2 bronze medals; followed by the United States with a total of 8 gold medals, 12 silver and 3 bronze medals. Reining champs Dominican Republic has 3 gold medals, having won the past two editions (2021, 2019), they also have 3 silver and 5 bronze medals.

Preliminary round schedule

August 29

1:30pm United States v Costa Rica

5:00pm Dominican Republic v Cuba

7:30pm Canada v Mexico

August 30

1:30pm Cuba v United States

5:00pm Costa Rica v Dominican Republic

7:30pm Puerto Rico v Canada

August 31

1:30pm Cuba v Costa Rica

5:00pm Puerto Rico v Mexico

7:30pm United States v Dominican Republic