Puerto Rican Shara Venegas earns MVP award at NORCECA Women’s Final Four

PONCE, Puerto Rico, June 9th, 2024.- Shara Venegas team captain of the Puerto Rico earned the Most Valuable Player MVP Award after her team won back to back NORCECA Women’s Final Four.

Shara Venegas received the MVP recognition from Dr. César Trabanco, president of the Puerto Rican Volleyball Federation, during the closing ceremony at the Salvador Dijols Coliseum in Ponce, Puerto Rico.

Shara Venegas (PUR) MVP

Also from Team Puerto Rico, outside hitter Stephanie Rivera was the Second Best Spiker, middle blocker Diana Reyes the Best Blocker, setter Wilmarie Rivera was selected Best Server and Best Setter and opposite Grace López Best Opposite.

From Mexico, outside hitter Uxue Amaya Guereca was the Best Spiker and Best Scorer, middle blocker Karina Flores Second Best Middle Blocker and libero Joseline Landeros was Best Receiver and Best Libero.

The award for Best Digger was handed to libero María José Castro from Costa Rica.

Puerto Rico Gold Medal
Mexico Silver Medal
Cuba Bronze Medal

Remarkable win for Puerto Rico to conquer the championship at NORCECA Women’s Final Four

PONCE, Puerto Rico, June 9th, 2024.- Puerto Rico won an exciting four set match to Mexico in front of a passionate home crowd, to become NORCECA Women’s Final Four Champions at the Salvador Dijols Coliseum in Ponce. The match finished 3-1 for the locals with score of 25-20, 25-20, 19-25, 27-25

This is the second title in a row for Puerto Rico in this event and their fourth medal overall (2 golds, one silver and one bronze). For Mexico, it’s their third podium and their first silver medal in the Final Four. Mexico won the gold in 2022 and bronze in 2019.

Paola Santiago PUR

A well balanced first two sets for Puerto Rico and Mexico but Puerto Rico’s strategy worked out at the end to win both sets 25-20. In the third set, a resilient Mexico came back from a  4-point deficit to tie the set 11-11. Mexico led all the way ending the third set in their favor by a score of 25-19. A nail-biting battle took place in the fourth set that led to extra points. The set ended with a monster block by Puerto Rican Neira Ortiz and score of 27-25.

Uxuel Amaya Guereca MEX

Mexico led by a slight 53-52 in attacks, but both teams were even in blocks (7-7) and serves (4-4). Mexico committed a total of 33 unforced errors while Puerto Rico committed 26.

Outside hitter Paola Santiago was the top scorer for Puerto Rico with 14 points (11 attacks, one  block and 2 aces) followed by middle blocker Diana Reyes with 13 points (9 attacks and 4 blocks). For Mexico, the best scorers were opposite Marian Ovalle with 16 points (13 attacks and 3 blocks) and outside hitter Uxue Guereca with 16 points (13 attacks and 3 blocks).

Head Coach of Puerto Rico – Juan Carlos Núñez: Winning at home is very rewarding. This tournament gave me the opportunity to evaluate some athletes that are new to the national team and gives me an idea of what I can expect in the next events we have in our calendar. Mexico is a team that knows how to play the game, very controlled and analytic but I told the girls that we needed to be patient to close the sets and we did. We need to keep working, strengthen our serve and see what other players can join the team for the next tournaments, especially the Final Six and the FIVB Challenger.

Top Scorer of Puerto Rico – Paola Santiago: I have no words to describe how it feels to play at home in front of our fans that support us in each game. A lot of emotions but very happy that we won the match and the championship. Mexico is a team that has a fast game, very good defense but our blocking and defense combination was that help us the most to achieve our goal. For the next events we need to improve our team tactics since we are a new team, and we need to adapt to each other.

Head coach of Mexico – Nicola Negro: A match in which we started bad in the first sets, with a weak discipline and tactic which led us to commit a lot of unforced errors. At the third set we improve our serve and adjust our blocking-defense system to control Puerto Rico’s attacks. At the end we lost a lot of opportunities to force a tie break. Now we will focus on the Final Six where we will find more teams and we will be able to get more experience and grow as a team.

Best scorer of Mexico – Marian Ovalle: a little frustrated on how the fourth set ended but I’m very happy to know that we can improve and be ready for the next tournament. We need to start playing well from the first set and focus. Mentally we were not focused and made many mistakes especially in the serve and we need to focus on us for the upcoming events.

Cuba defeats Costa Rica for Third Place at NORCECA Women’s Final Four

PONCE, Puerto Rico, June 9th, 2024.- Cuba defeated Costa Rica 3-1 (25-15, 25-15, 20-25, 25-19) and finished in third place of the NORCECA Women’s Final at the Salvador Dijols Coliseum in Ponce, Puerto Rico.

This is Cuba’s second medal in the history of the event since they finished second in 2022 losing to Mexico in last match.

The Cubans finished with record of 1 win and 2 losses while Costa Rica ended with an 0-3 win-loss record.

Alejandra Gomez CUB block

Cuba came out strong in the first two sets pushing with their serves and power attacks. In the third set, Costa Rica displayed a different strategy forcing with serves to start with a 5-0 advantage. Cuba tried to bounce back but the Costa Ricans were motivated and won the set 25-21. A balanced fourth set started for both teams, but the experience of the Cubans prevailed to take the last set 25-21.

Cuba was led by a solid performance from opposite Alejandra Gómez who finished with 26 points (19 attacks, one block and 6 aces) followed by middle blocker Lianet García with 15 points (14 attacks and one ace). For Costa Rica, Julissa Rodríguez ended with 11 points (8 attacks and 3 blocks).

Julissa Rodriguez CRC

Cuba led 60-29 in attack points and 8-6 in serves. Both teams scored 6 blocks each. Cuba committed a total of 32 unforced errors surpassing the 21 committed by Costa Rica.

Head Coach of Cuba – Leivis García: we achieved the goal for this event, which was to have new players playing to develop the physical and technical aspects and I think we did well in the game. The new players have been fulfilling the task little by little and that is what we wanted. Now we will concentrate on the next tournament which is the Final Six.

Top Scorer of Cuba – Alejandra Gómez: I was a little nervous at first but then managed to take the pace of the game supported by the coach. I am preparing myself and this is an experience to continue playing and advancing in my sport.

Head Coach of Costa Rica – Ronald Pérez: for us it was clearly a great challenge, but we saw a big change in pressure on our players. We decided to be organized tactically and I think we have a very good serve, and we can improve our reception as we could see in the third set. Now we have the Central American Final Four in Honduras, and we are going with the same objective of continuing accumulating points.

Top Scorer of Costa Rica – Julissa Rodríguez: I think it was a good tournament for us as we prepare for the next event. In today’s match we were able to give a better version of ourselves in the last sets. This tournament is for us to prepare for the Central American Final Four since most of us will be playing in that event and our goal is to win.

Puerto Rico beat Cuba and will play for the championship at NORCECA Women’s Final Four

PONCE, Puerto Rico, June 8th, 2024.- Puerto Rico beat Cuba in straight sets and will play Mexico for the championship of NORCECA Women’s Final Four at the Salvador Dijols Coliseum in Ponce, Puerto Rico with score 25-16, 25-22, 25-19.

Cuba started leading the first set 7-4, forcing a time out from Coach Juan Carlos Núñez from Puerto Rico. The locals bounced back and took the first set 25-16. The second set was very tight, but Puerto Rico adjusted at the end of the set for a 25-22 win. Putting pressure on the serve, Puerto Rico controlled the third set and won 25-19.

Puerto Rico led in attacks 40-26, blocks 11-9 and serves 8-2, but committed more errors than Cuba, 20-16.

Puerto Rico

The top scorers of the match for Puerto Rico were middle blocker Diana Reyes with 15 pts (8 attacks, 6 blocks and an ace) and opposite Grace López with 12 points (9 attacks, 2 blocks and an ace). For Cuba the top scorer was opposite Greisy Fine with 11 points (10 attacks and 1 block).

Puerto Rico will play Mexico for the first place of NORCECA Women’s Final Four and Cuba will face Costa Rica for the third place.

Greisy Fine Martinez CUB

Top scorer Puerto Rico – Diana Reyes: We knew that this was a team that was going to show us more presence in the game because they are tall players who attack very hard, but we studied them well to play with strategy and achieve victory. The pressure on serve worked for us, as it affected their reception, and they couldn’t use their middle blockers as much. Tomorrow ‘s match against Mexico will be more demanding but, we will have our analysis and directions from our coach. We will come focused on seeking victory.

Top scorer Cuba – Greisy Fine: we knew it was a difficult match since Puerto Rico is a very good team. We had to play hard and give our all despite having the fans against us. Things didn’t go the way we wanted, but I can say that we gave everything. We must improve some things since we did not have much time to train together prior this tournament but, for our match against Costa Rica we will come with all we got and very focused.

Mexico swept Costa Rica and will play for gold at NORCECA Women’s Final Four

PONCE, Puerto Rico, June 7th, 2024 – Mexico swept Costa Rica on day two of the NORCECA Women’s Final Four at the Salvador Dijols Coliseum in Ponce, Puerto Rico.

Mexico controlled the entire match with a dominant serving performance which was too strong for Costa Rica, scoring 11 aces on the first set. Mexico used a different line up on the third set with outside hitter Aime Margarita Topete coming off the bench.

Mexico performed better in attacks 37-19, blocks 9-3 and serves 17-6 while Costa Rica had fewer unforced errors 12-14.

Best scorers for Mexico were Outside hitter Uxue Guereca with 15 points (10 attacks, 2 blocks and 3 aces) and middle blocker Karina Flores Gamez with 14 points (5 attacks, 4 blocks and 5 serves) while for Costa Rica were middle blocker María Alfaro with 7 points (2 attacks, 2 blocks and 3 serves) and outside hitter Tamara Espinosa with 5 points (3 attacks and 2 aces).

Karina Angelica Flores Gamez MEX

The Mexicans are still undefeated in this tournament, with a 2-0 record, and will play with Puerto Rico on last day of competition. If Mexico wins, will be crowned champion of the tournament. 

Costa Rica, with 0-2 record, will play Cuba.

Top Scorer from Mexico – Uxue Guereca: It was a very good match, I think we did a good job. Costa Rica played really well but at the end we are very happy that we got the victory. Our serve was really good, same as our attacks and we were very effective on both skills. Tomorrow against Puerto Rico we need to come to play aggressively as we have done in previous matches and our first contact to be as strong as our attacks.

Top Scorer from Costa Rica – María Alfaro: I think Mexico is a very strong team. They pressured us with their serve and we were really weak with our reception and I think that was the key of the match since when we got a good reception, we were able to play one on one vs Mexico but I think we learned a lot, with many things to improve and eager to continue playing.

Puerto Rico dominates Costa Rica at NORCECA Women’s Final Four

PONCE, Puerto Rico, June 7th, 2024.- Puerto Rico started strong the NORCECA Women’s Final Four dominating Costa Rica in straight sets in their debut at Salvador Dijols Coliseum in Ponce, Puerto Rico.

The Puerto Ricans enforced their skills in serves and attacks over Costa Rica maintaining the lead throughout the whole match in front of an enthusiastic home crowd. The match finished 3-0 in favor of the locals with scores 25-11, 25-14, 25-14.

Puerto Rico led the match in attacks 46-19, blocks 4-0 and serves 12-4 while Costa Rica made fewer unforced errors (13-16).

Tatiana Sayles CRC

The top scorer for the host team was outside hitter Stephanie Rivera with 12 points (9 attacks, 1 block and 2 aces) and for Costa Rica was captain and opposite hitter Tatiana Sayles with 6 points (5 attacks and 1 ace).

On the second day of the Round Robin competition Puerto Rico will face Cuba and Costa Rica will play against Mexico.

Puerto Rico celebrate

Juan Carlos Núñez – Coach Puerto Rico: it was an opportunity to watch the group. For me it was again being with the older group and seeing the new generation playing. A group that has been training for three weeks and we wanted to see how we were together with players participating for the first time in this scenario. At least it was a good start to evaluate things and prepare for the next two matches.

Shara Venegas – Captain of Puerto Rico: we are going from less to more. Costa Rica is a team that is raising its level a lot and we knew that it was a good game for us to get into gear as a team. Tomorrow, we play against Cuba, it is a team that has a lot of adrenaline and competition among us. Also,  we have some young players with a lot of energy, a desire to learn and a very good vibe, which is helping us to complement each other on the team.

Ronald Pérez – Coach Costa Rica: A very interesting match. Many challenges for us mainly in reception, but I think that for moments we managed to have stability in that aspect. We had a strong opponent in front of us who complicated the game with its serves.

Tatiana Sayles – Captain of Costa Rica: we knew it was a complicated match. Puerto Rico is a very strong team, but we came here to give our best effort. I think we must have more consistency in our game and concentrate more. Tomorrow we are going with everything against Mexico, and we must improve the reception and communicate more.

Mexico defeats Cuba in opening match at NORCECA Women’s Final Four

PONCE, Puerto Rico, June 7th, 2024.- Mexico bounced back to defeat Cuba 3-1 in the opening match of the NORCECA Women’s Final Four at the Salvador Dijols Coliseum in Ponce, Puerto Rico.

Cuba started with confidence taking the lead of the entire first set thanks to their power attacks. In the second set, Mexico started pushing with a combination on serves and blocks and Cuba tried to fight by tying the set 18-18 but the Mexicans were focused and won the set 25-21. Mexico’s serve was the key skill in the remaining set to defeat Cuba 3-1.

Mexico led in attacks 52-42, blocks 12-11 and serves 6-2 and made fewer errors than Cuba (23-26).


Mexico was led by an outstanding performance of their outside hitter Uxue Amaya Guereca Parra, who was the top scorer of the match, with 23 points (18 attacks, 2 blocks and 3 aces) while Cuba’s top scorer was opposite Greisy Fine Martínez with 16 points (12 attacks, 2 blocks and 2 aces).

On the second day of the Round Robin competition, Mexico will face Costa Rica while Cuba will be playing against home team Puerto Rico.

Greisy Fine Martinez CUB

Nicola Negro – Coach of Mexico: A very important victory since Cuba is ahead of us in the world ranking and this victory grants us important points. We started with some issues since Cuba surprised us with a different tactic than the one we had studied, and it took some time for us to adjust. When we started having better serves and worked on our blocking and defense, we found the adjustment we needed to get the victory.

Jocelyn Urias – Captain of Mexico: The truth is that we came to the match very focused, I feel that our goal was to stop them since Cuba is a team that attacks very high. We knew that if we didn’t have a good serve, they would get a good reception and attack. After we started with our strong serve, their reception got weak and that really worked for us very well.

Leivis Garcia – Coach of Cuba: A first match in which Mexico used very well the serve tactic. It damaged our reception line, and we were not able to answer those serves. Tomorrow, we have a strong match against the home team and we need to fight this match with the same goal in mind we came here for, which is gaining points for a qualification.

Laura Suarez – Captain of Cuba: I think this was a very good match. In the first set we came to give it all but then Mexico pushed us with the serve, and we were not able to improve our reception and also made many unforced errors. I think tomorrow we need to come with all the strength to reduce the mistakes and give it all.

Coaches looking forward to Women’s Final Four Competition

The 2024 NORCECA Women’s Final Four is ready to take place at Salvador Dijols Coliseum in Ponce, Puerto Rico this week. Coaches are eagerly anticipating this event, which will award FIVB World Ranking Points for the Volleyball Nations League.

Head Coach Cuba – Leivis Osmani Garcia Leon

The preparation was short because many of the athletes arrived from their clubs in mid-May and the integration of the entire team was very brief. We have a very mixed squad in terms of age and experience, athletes already establishing themselves in the national team and others who join with good prospects, there is great motivation and a well-knit group. Our objective in this first event is to evaluate and study some girls who have not competed at this level and as a general purpose to increase the points in the ranking to achieve a classification for a possible VNL.


Head Coach Mexico – Nicola Negro

This year we have a larger roster of players than last year. We had roster organization problems before but at this moment we have a larger group that allows us to work better. Our preparation was short, we started in May with a restricted group and with the full team we have trained for only five days. We are here starting the season and we need a little time to adjust but we are here to obtain the best possible result. We know that Puerto Rico and Cuba are very strong teams, and we are going to give our best.


Head Coach Puerto Rico – Juan Carlos Nunez

We have been training hard every day for about three weeks. We have had the opportunity to have all the players we called up available. Our team is a mix of veteran players and players who are going to make their first appearance with the senior team with good projection and it will be their first experience at this level. I think we are going to present a good team, not only for this tournament but for the others that are coming this year. Our expectations are to win all three games and keep our team at its best for the upcoming tournaments. The fans must be supporting us because in addition to the fact that we are playing at home, they are a team that has a good chance of winning.

Puerto Rico

Head Coach Costa Rica – Ronald Eduardo Perez Lopez

We have been training for this event for around three to four months with a new coach. We are starting a new process so basically, we are trying to make a generational change. We had a couple of players that were not able to come, but we bring the team quite similar to what the last Final Four was with some new players that are looking for a place in the senior team. Our main objective is to develop ourselves, create a team on the field and improve little by little as the games progress.

Costa Rica

The 2024 NORCECA Women’s Final Four takes Center Stage at Ponce

PONCE, Puerto Rico, June 3, 2024.- The 2024 NORCECA Women’s Final Four will take center stage at Salvador Dijols Coliseum in Ponce, Puerto Rico from June 7-9.

Host Puerto Rico will be joined by Mexico, Cuba and Costa Rica in a three-day round robin competition that starts on Saturday June 7.

Puerto Rico won the past edition of the event qualifying to the last edition of the Volleyball Women Challenger Cup (VCC) to take place this year in Manila, the Philippines from July 4-7.

The FIVB Volleyball Nations League will expand to 18 teams in 2025, therefore no team will be relegated at the end of the VNL 2024 season, while the winners of the 2024 Volleyball Challenger Cup and the highest-placed teams in the FIVB Men’s and Women’s Volleyball World Ranking not yet qualified will join the VNL 2025 action.

As of the 2025 edition, the core and challenger team statuses will be abolished and the bottom-placed team in the competition’s final standings in each gender will be relegated, to be replaced by the respective highest-ranked team in the world for the following VNL season.

Consequently, the 2024 NORCECA Women’s Final Four will grant FIVB World Ranking Points to the FIVB Volleyball Nations League.

Competition Schedule:

June 7

18:00    Mexico vs Cuba

20:00    Puerto Rico vs Costa Rica

June 8

18:00    Mexico vs Costa Rica

20:00    Cuba vs Puerto Rico

June 9

18:00    Costa Rica vs Cuba

20:00    Puerto Rico vs Mexico