Dibanhi Barrera is the MVP of NORCECA Girls’ U17 Championship

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, November 26, 2023.- Mexican libero Dibanhi Barrera received the highest honors after being named the Most Valuable Player MVP of the first edition of the NORCECA Girls’ Under-17 Continental Championship at Gymnasium Jorge Galeano in Tegucigalpa Honduras.

Dibanhi Barrera was awarded also as the Best Libero, Best Defense and Best Receiver of the event, after Mexico triumphed as the First-Ever NORCECA U17 Champion.

Along with Dibanhi, Mexico’s team captain Aitana Rettke was recognized as the Best Second Spiker, Yliana Zuñiga the Best Opposite and Gabriela Garza the Best Server.

Puerto Rican Sara Lozano received the distinction as Best Spiker.

The Best Blocker and Best Second Blocker went to Dominican Caroline Rodriguez and Keyling Olivas of Nicaragua respectively.

The Best Setter was awarded to Megan Hunter of Canada and the Best Scorer of the event was Salet Castillo of Cuba.

Best Players

Mexico First-Ever NORCECA U17 Champion with a five-set comeback against Puerto Rico

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, November 26, 2023. – Mexico is the First-ever NORCECA Girls’ U17  Sub-Champion in a comeback five-set victory 3-2 (23-25, 23-25, 27-25, 25-21, 15-5) against Puerto Rico at the Jorge Galeano Gymnasium in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

Mexico finishes the event with a 5-1 record, and Puerto Rico with 4-1, both qualifying for the 2024 FIVB World Championship. The third World Championship ticket went to Canada, who won the bronze medal match against the Dominican Republic.

Mexico outperformed Puerto Rico with a 67-57 advantage in attacks, 15-9 in blocks, and 8-2 in aces. Mexico scored 23 points on Puerto Rico’s unforced errors but gave away 33.

Mexican opposite hitter Yliana Zúñiga, led all scorers with 28 points, on 24 kills and 4 blocks. Team captain Aitana Tanguma contributed 24 points, on 13 kills, a match-high of 7 blocks and 4 aces. While outside hitter Kenia Martínez added 16 kill points.

Puerto Rico’s captain, Kalia Alvarado, led her team with 26 points on 25 kills and one ace. Outside hitter Sara Lozano contributed 24 points on 21 kills and 3 blocks, and Diangelie González tallied 13 points.

Mexico, Puerto Rico y Canadá

Mexico made a formidable recovery from a two-set deficit after both teams traded the lead during the first four sets. Puerto Rico bounced back from a six-point deficit (8-14) in the second set with blocks from Natashja Soto and Victoria Camacho, accompanied by Kalia Alvarado’s kills. Mexico took the lead with Yliana Zúñiga and Brenda Esquivel offense, but after a series of errors, Puerto Rico closed the set. Mexico forced a fourth set and then the tie-break with an ace and a kill  from team captain Aitana Tanguma, respectively. Mexico dominated the fifth set, jumping to an 8-0 lead with their powerful attacks and precise blocks.

Mexico’s captain, Aitana Rettke Tanguma, said, “We never thought we were going to lose. We had a clear goal of winning the gold medal, and we weren’t going to give up. I changed my position to middle, to fight with all my heart to take home the gold medal. I asked the coach to use me as a middle blocker to contribute to my team because I’ve only been playing as outside hitter for five months”.

Mexico’s coach, Ignacio Sánchez, expressed, “We played well throughout the entire match. We couldn’t close in the first sets because we were making a lot of mistakes with our middles, so we decided to take a risk and switch Aitana’s position, and we had revolutionary results for the team. We came in with a mindset to win the gold medal. The match was highly contested. This is a great group of girls who worked well together with the coaching staff”.

Canada Takes NORCECA U17 Bronze and Last Ticket to FIVB Worlds defeating Dominican Republic

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, November 26, 2023. – Canada won the bronze medal and the last ticket to the 2024 FIVB World Championship over the Dominican Republic 3-1 (28-30, 28-26, 25-23, 28-26) in the first edition of the NORCECA Girls’ U17 Championship in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

Canada finishes the tournament 4-1 and qualifies for the 2024 FIVB World Championship as one of the three finalists. Dominican Republic finishes 3-3.

This was Canada’s second time defeating Dominican Republic in the event, also in three sets in pool-play.

Canada outscored the Dominican Republic with a 53 to 46 advantage in attacking points and 10 to 7 in points from serves. The Dominicans led in blocks 13-11 and made fewer unforced errors, 35 to 39.

Natalie Wahlgren CAN

Middle blocker Ella Hope led Canada as the top scorer of the match with 26 points on 17 kills, 4 blocks, and 5 aces. Dara Obeid, also middle blocker, contributed 17 points on 13 kills and 4 blocks. Outside hitter Alexia Corneo collected 11 points on 9 kills and two aces.

For the Dominican Republic, the leading scorer was outside hitter Virelys Rivera with 16 points on  13 kills, 2 blocks, and oneace. Opposite hitter Isabella Cerda and team captain Estel Santos added 16 and 14 points, respectively.

The match was a party of points with teams trading the lead. All three sets had a dramatic finish. Canada bounced back from the loss in the first set, using short touches that unsettled the Dominican Republic and then using targeted serving. Canada recovered from a three-point deficit (21-24) when the Dominican Republic was one point away from forcing a tie-break, with Dasia Smith serving and kills.

After the victory, Canada’s coach Amy Wilson said, “We knew the Dominican Republic was going to come out real tough and we knew that we have to stay patient through the roller coaster. We had played the Dominican Republic before, so we stuck to our game plan with a few little tweaks and it worked for us”.

Costa Rica beats Cuba with five-set comeback  for Fifth place at NORCECA U17

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, November 26, 2023. – Costa Rica defeated Cuba coming from a two-set deficit 3-2 (15-25, 21-25, 25-19, 25-20, 15-11) for the fifth place in the first NORCECA Girls’ Under-17 Championship at the Jorge Galeano Gymnasium in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

This time, it was Costa Rica who recovered from a two-set deficit; in the preliminary round, the same happened, but the Caribbeans took the win. Both teams conclude the tournament with two wins and four losses.

Costa Rica led in service points (8-7) and scored 43 points from Cuba’s errors against 31. Cuba dominated in attacks (51-46) and blocks (11-4).

Nicole Leiva CRC

Costa Rica’s outside hitter Michelle Arias led with 15 points (14 kills, one ace). She was joined by Dayna Barrantes with 13 points (9 killss, 3 blocks, one ace) and Lilliam Vargas with 10 points (8 attacks, 2 aces).

Cuban outside hitter Salet Castillo Valdes was the top scorer of the match with 19 points (16 kills, one block, one ace). Middle blocker Lizt López contributed 17 points (13 kills, 4 blocks), and team captain Yesica Brito added 14 points (12 kills, 2 blocks).

Thanks to Cuba’s errors, combined with the effective attacks of Michelle Arias and Dayna Barrantes, Costa Rica comfortably won the third set and took control of the game from there onwards. In the fourth set, the score was tied numerous times, but Costa Rica forced the tie-break with an ace from Lilliam Vargas. Costa Rica started the fifth set with a powerful serve from team captain Nadia Granados, taking a 5-0 lead, and then scoring all over the place to reach a 9-1 advantage. Costa Rica grew stronger while Cuba appeared erratic. Costa Rica sealed the victory after losing a match point from Cuba’s captain, Yesica Brito.

Nadia Granados, captain of Costa Rica said, “Our attitude was really good, we recovered our confidence coming from losing two sets. It was a nice rematch”.

Docquier Umaña, Head coach of Costa Rica said “We had a worthy tournament, the girls battled hard, and they deserve all the merit. We are going back to Costa Rica with motivation to keep working”.

Nicaragua sweeps Honduras for Seventh place

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, November 26, 2023. – Nicaragua defeated Honduras in straight sets 3-0 (25-11, 25-16, 25-20), finishing in seventh place in the first edition of the NORCECA Girls’ Under-17  Championship in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

Nicaragua concluded the event with two wins and four losses. This was the second occasion that Nicaragua defeated Honduras in the tournament. Honduras closed with a 0-5 record.

Nicaragua secured victory over Honduras with advantages of 38-15 in attacks, 5-3 in blocks, and 8-5 in aces. Both teams committed 24 unforced errors.

Brisa Bermudez NCA

Setter Brisa Bermudez and middle blocker Karen Bird from Nicaragua each scored 9 points. Middle blocker Keyling Olivas contributed 8 points.

For Honduras, opposite hitter Nicole Velasquez and outside hitter Ruth Villegas scored 6 points each.

 Claudia Noguera, Head coach of Nicaragua, commented, “Both teams gave their all. My girls knew how to obey and maintain concentration throughout the game. It was a good experience to face teams of a higher level; it was a great learning opportunity, and now they know they have to continue their preparation”.

Honduras’ coach, Marcos Sugiyama, expressed, “Our idea was to see how our process was going, at what level we were. We must work on many things. Today, I think we didn’t enjoy the game, and there was a lack of concentration, perhaps due to the results. It’s good that we can continue the process because we are just starting, and I’m glad the players could see the level of competition”.

Puerto Rico to face Mexico for NORCECA U17 Gold and Qualifies to World Championship

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, November 25, 2023. – Puerto Rico defeated Dominican Republic 3-1 (25-22, 25-19, 18-25, 29-27) in semifinals to face Mexico for the gold medal at  the NORCECA Girls’ Under-17  Championship in Tegucigalpa and qualified to the 2024 FIVB World Championship.

Puerto Rico, along with Mexico, earned two of the three slots for the World Championship. In the pool-play, Puerto Rico defeated Mexico in straight sets.

Dominican Republic will face Canada on Sunday for the bronze medal and for the last spot in the World Championship. Canada defeated the Dominican Republic in four sets in the first phase of the event.

Despite Dominican Republic finishing with advantages in attacks (51-49), blocks (11-9), and direct aces (9-4), Puerto Rico won the semifinal capitalizing on 35 errors compared to 22 of their own.

Sara Lozano PUR

Puerto Rico’s outside hitter Sara Lozano was the top scorer of the match with 21 kill points. Team captain Kalia Alvarado contributed 15 points on  14 attacks and one block. Outside hitter Diangelie González added 14 points on 9 attacks, 2 blocks, and 3 aces.

Dominican opposite hitter Isabella Cerda led her team with 16 points, including 10 kills and a match-high of 5 aces. Estel Santos and Caroline Rodriguez contributed 14 and 12 points respectively.

Despite the Dominican Republic dominating with blocks from Mondesi and Rodriguez, Puerto Rico recovered from a three-point deficit (13-16) to take the first set with a kill point from Lozano.

Puerto Rico led with a four-point advantage (14-10) in the second set, which they maintained with the offensive efforts of Sara Lozano and Diangelie González and benefiting  from consecutive errors by the Dominican Republic.

In the third set, led by Isabella Cerda and taking advantage of Puerto Rico’s errors, Dominicans held   a seven-point lead (16-9). Cerda closed the set 25-18 with an ace.

In the fourth set, with three consecutive service points from Isabella Cerda and two kills from Cristal Mercedes, the Dominican Republic reached set point (24-19), but Puerto Rico snatched the victory in a dramatic finish at 29-27.

Juan Carlos Nuñez, the coach of Puerto Rico, said, “These games between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic are filled with a lot of emotion due to the history we bring. I am proud of these girls for accepting the challenge; they have followed the game plan for the 5 and a half weeks we’ve been together. Puerto Rico managed to pressure the service in those final points to come from behind, to close with the victory, they (Dominican Republic) are a strong group but lack ball control”.

Wilson Sánchez, coach of the Dominican Republic said, “It was a match filled with many emotions because of the rivalry between our countries. Unfortunately, we couldn’t use our starting setter because she wasn’t feeling well, and the team was mentally blocked. We fought; we had an advantage in the first set that we lost, as well as in the fourth with 24-20. The players couldn’t handle the nerves to close it. Tomorrow, we’ll fight for the last ticket to the World Championship”.

Mexico Qualifies for Worlds and NORCECA U17 Gold Medal Match

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, November 25, 2023. – Mexico qualified to the 2024 FIVB World Championship and the gold medal match of the NORCECA Girls’ Under-17 Continental Championship defeating Canada 3-1 (25-20, 25-23, 22-25, 25-16) on Saturday in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

Mexico earned one of the three tickets to the 2024 World Championship and will compete for gold against Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic. Canada will vie for the bronze medal against the loser and the last ticket to the World Championship.

Mexico prevailed with a 50-41 advantage in kills and 7-4 aces. Canada outperformed Mexico in blocks 9-5. Mexico conceded 30 points on unforced errors, while Canada had 35.

Mexican opposite hitter, Yliana Zuñiga, led all scorers with 21 points on 19 kills, one block, and one ace. Team captain Aitana Tanguma and middle blocker Kiara Ramirez contributed 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Natalie Wahlgren CAN

For Canada, outside hitters Natalie Wahlgren and Alexia Corneo scored 12 and 11 points, respectively. Middle blocker Dara Obeid added 10 points.

Mexico recovered from a four-point deficit (0-4) at the start of the first set, later they went on trading points with Canada and closed with a comfortable five-point lead.

Mexico won the second set dramatically with an attack from Brenda Esquivel after losing four set points due to a service error, two powerful attacks, and a block from Canada.

Canada took a four-point lead in the third set (11-7) and won with a kill from Natalie Wahlgren, despite losing two set points due to a service error and an ace from Mexico.

Mexico started the fourth set with a six-point lead (13-7), and with the offense led by Zúñiga, along with Esquivel and Tanguma, maintained the advantage until the end, winning the match with a service error from Canada.

Ignacio Sánchez, Head coach of Mexico expressed “We reached the goal to qualify to Worlds, we still have the gold medal in mind. I think losing to Puerto Rico in pool-play taught us a lot. Today Mexico did a good job in defense, we were more decisive in other matches, but today we played with intelligence, knowing that Canada is very disciplined and they don’t give away points easily”.  

Megan Hunter, captain of Canada said “Even though we didn’t end up winning, we’re going to keep up pulling the pedal because we still got a chance to qualify for the World Championship. Tomorrow we’re going to play as hard as we can. I think our confidence wasn’t there today and we can always improve communication”.

Cuba will face Costa Rica for fifth place at NORCECA U17

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, November 25, 2023.- Cuba will face Costa Rica for fifth place in the first edition of the NORCECA Girls’ U17 Championship after defeating Honduras in straight sets 25-16, 25-8 and 25-7 on Saturday in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

In pool-play, Cuba beat Costa Rica in dramatic five-sets after recovering from a two-set deficit, setting the stage for a rematch for the “Ticas”. Honduras will play against Nicaragua for seventh place, having already lost to Nicaragua in three sets in the preliminary round.

Cuba dominated Honduras with an overwhelming advantage in attacks (37-10) and aces (20-2), also leading in blocks (4-1). Honduras committed fewer unforced errors (14-18).

Salet Castillo CUB

The top scorer of the game was Cuban Salet Castillo Valdes with 19 points on 10 kills, 3 blocks and impressive 6 aces. Middle blocker Lizt López also contributed to the win with 13 points, and team captain Yesica Brito with 11 points.

Honduras surprised Cuba at the start of the first set, reaching 13 points even, Cuba quickly recovered and dominated the match entirely.

 “We gained momentum after being down in the first set, and in the end, we won as planned. We were dominant. We already faced Costa Rica, and what happened once won’t happen twice; we are going for the victory” said setter Naomis Rosabal.

Costa Rica beats Nicaragua to play for fifth place

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, November 25, 2023.- Costa Rica beat Nicaragua 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-22) at the first edition of the NORCECA Girls’ Under-17 Championship on Saturday at the Jorge Galeano Gymnasium in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

On Sunday, Costa Rica Nicaragua will play for fifth place against the winner between Honduras and Cuba; Costa Rica Nicaragua goes against the loser for seventh place.

Costa Rica’s tough serves were key in prevailing against Nicaragua, with an 11-3 advantage; they also led in kills 42-33 and scored on 19 opponent errors. Nicaragua held a 5-3 margin in blocks and benefited from 23 Costa Rican errors.

Nathalia Zavaleta CRC

Opposite hitter Lilliam Vargas topped Costa Rica with 14 points on 12 kills and 2 aces. Outside hitter Michelle Arias contributed with 11 kill points and Nicole Leiva chipped in with 9 points.

Middle blocker Keyling Olivas led Nicaragua with 9 points on 6 kills and 3 blocks. Middle blocker Karen Bird and setter Franchesca Viera added 8 points each.

Costa Rica came from behind in the first set (10-14) and the second (6-11). Costa Rica started the third with an overwhelming ten-point advantage (13-3), but Nicaragua never gave up, scoring six points in a row while down 8-17, to level the scores at 20. Costa Rica finally won 25-22.

Costa Rica’s captain, Nadia Granados, said, “We were behind in the first two sets because of our attitude. When we started to lift our spirits, things improved, and so did the score. In the last set, we were concerned about the big lead we had, and they were able to catch up, but fortunately, we recovered to secure the victory. Tomorrow, we need to be more consistent in our game and not settle down”.

“We showed that we can fight. Unfortunately, we didn’t rise until the end of the game, and we should have done it from the first two sets. We got discouraged very quickly, and we couldn’t achieve the victory we desired so much” said the captain of Nicaragua, Lucía Columna.

Mexico makes it to NORCECA U17 Semifinals beating Cuba

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, November 24, 2023.- Mexico made to the semifinals of the NORCECA Girls’ Under-17 Championship after beating Cuba 3-0 (25-10, 25-17, 25-19) on Friday at the Jorge Galeano Gymnasium in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

Mexico will face Canada in Friday’s first semifinal for a chance to reach the gold medal match and qualify for the 2024 FIVB World Championship. In the other semifinal, Dominican Republic plays Puerto Rico.

Also on Friday, Cuba will play in the classification match for positions 5 to 8 against Honduras; and Nicaragua goes up against Costa Rica.

Mexico outperformed Cuba in every skill of the game, attack (45-22), block (6-3), and service (11-3). Cuba committed fewer unforced errors (13-18).

Aitana Rettke MEX

The top scorer of the match was Mexico’s captain, Aitana Tanguma, with 19 points on 15 kills, two blocks, and two aces. Also contributing to Mexico’s victory were middle blocker Brenda Esquivel and outside hitter Kenia Martínez, with 11 points each.

Salet Castillo once again led Cuba with 11 points.

Mexico faced little resistance from Cuba, securing the first set with a comfortable lead. In the second set, Cuba jumped to a six-point lead (7-1), but Mexico managed to recover with their service and capitalize on Cuba’s errors to tie the score at 14 points. Tanguma and Martínez’s attacks then helped Mexico stay ahead. In the third set, setter Gabriela Garza’s serves were crucial in closing the win.

Setter, Gabriela Garza, about coming behind in the second set said, “Attitude was everything; the desire to win motivated us to fight harder”. About the victory, she added, “Mexico did everything right, defense, serves, blocks, spikes, reception. Tomorrow, we hope for a good match against Canada”.

Yesica Brito, captain of Cuba, said, “It’s a very tough defeat. The team lacked focus due to the pressure of what the match meant. Mexico is a very strong team; I congratulate them”.

Dominican Republic advances to NORCECA U17 Semifinals

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, November 24, 2023. Republic advanced into the semifinals of the first edition of the NORCECA Girls’ U17 Continental Championship with a 3-0 (25-18, 25-20, 25-14) victory over Nicaragua in Friday’s quarterfinals at the Jorge Galeano Gymnasium in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

Dominican Republic with 3 wins and one loss will face Puerto Rico in Saturday’s semifinals, aiming to reach the title match and win one of the three berths to qualify to the 2024 FIVB World Championship. Nicaragua (1-3) will play for positions 5 to 8.

Dominican Republic led 38-22 in kills and 9-3 in blocks, while Nicaragua led  4-1 in serves. Both teams committed a similar number of errors, Dominican Republic with 23 and Nicaragua with 27.

Opposite hitter Rayni Mondesi scored 14 points on 10 attacks, 3 blocks, and one ace for the Dominican Republic. Team captain, Estel Santos, added 10 points on 9 attacks and one block.

Rayni Mondesi DOM

Franchesca Viera led Nicaragua with 7 points.

After trading points in the beginning of the first set, Dominicans benefited from Nicaragua’s errors to jump to a comfortable six-point lead (14-8) and then taking control with assertive kills. In the second set teams were tied up to point 18, finally Dominican Republic took a two-point advantage with blocking defense to remain on top. With opposite Rayni Mondesi offense, Dominicans led the third set from the start to finish.

Rayni Mondesi from the Dominican Republic said, “Nicaragua gave us a good battle at the beginning, with good reception and communication. We advanced thanks to our powerful attack and improved our communication on the court, encouraging each other the entire time”.

“We maintained pressure at the beginning of the game because we had a lot of energy and fought for a victory, unfortunately, it didn’t happen. The Dominican Republic was more tactical in the third set, attacking against our block and scoring through the spaces we left uncovered over the net” said Francesca Viera from Nicaragua.

Canada defeats Dominican Republic and wins a direct ticket to Semifinals

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, November 23, 2023.- Canada defeated Dominican Republic 3-1 (25-16, 25-19, 19-25, 25-21) and secured a direct ticket to the semifinals of the NORCECA Girls’ U17  Continental Championship in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

Canada claimed the top spot in Pool A undefeated (3-0) to advance to Saturday’s semifinals. The Dominican Republic, finishing in second place (2-1), will play in the quarterfinals on Friday.

The top three finishers in the event will qualify for the 2024 FIVB World Championship.

Canada led in attacking points 44-39, while the Dominicans controlled blocking points 9-8 and service points 15-14. Canada scored on 28 errors from the Dominican Republic and conceded 18.

Natalie Wahlgren CAN

Outside hitter Natalie Wahlgren led Canada with 15 points, accompanied by middle blockers Ella Hope and Dara Obeid, each contributing 13 points.

Estel Santos was the top scorer for the Dominican Republic with 17 points, and Ana Encarnación added 12, including 9 aces.

“As a team we really stepped up, especially when we were in a little bit of trouble in serve-receive and we were able to keep it together. There was a little bit of confidence in the third set. Now we have a rest day to get ready for the semifinals” said Natalie Wahlgren, Canada’s top scorer.

Dominican Estel Santos said, “We improved the serve and reception in the third set, and there was greater unity. Tomorrow, we need to practice blocking and assistance to face the next game; I think that’s what we lack. Personally, I feel that I attacked well”.

Puerto Rico moves into Semifinals undefeated

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, November 23, 2023. – Puerto Rico advanced undefeated to semifinals after beating Honduras 3-0 (25-12, 25-11, 25-15) in the first edition of the NORCECA Girls’ U17  Championship on Thursday at the Jorge Galeano Gymnasium in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

Puerto Rico won Pool A and earned a direct ticket to Saturday’s semifinals. Mexico (2-1) and Nicaragua (1-2) will compete in the quarterfinals on Friday against the Dominican Republic and Cuba, respectively.

Honduras, fourth place in Pool A, will play for positions 5 to 8.

The top three places in the event qualify for the 2024 FIVB World Championship.

Puerto Rico finished with a 40-13 advantage in attacks and 11-3 in service points. Honduras controlled the blocking category 4-2. Puerto Rico capitalized on 22 points from Honduras’ errors and committed 18.

Kalia Alvarado PUR

Outside hitters Sara Lozano and Kalia Alvarado led Puerto Rico’s offense with 11 points each. Setter Natashja Soto scored a match-high of 5 aces.

Middle blocker Lila Madrid was Honduras’ top attacker with 7 points.

Carla Mercado, libero of Puerto Rico said, “We kept our composure, controlled the ball well, and were able to manage the game. We worked more through the middle, and the reserve players did a great job, preparing us for what’s coming in the tournament. We took the opportunity to practice things to be ready for the semifinal”.

Lila Madrid, the best attacker of Honduras, expressed, “It was a very tough game; Puerto Rico is a well-prepared team. My team gave everything and did their best on the court. I feel our defense was very good; we blocked, attacked, and celebrated every point with all our hearts”.

Mexico improves 2-1 defeating Nicaragua and waits for final position in Pool A

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, November 23, 2023 .- Mexico defeated Nicaragua 3-0 (25-13, 25-17, 25-13), improving their record to 2-1 and awaiting their final position in Pool A of the first NORCECA Girls’ U17 Championship at the Jorge Galeano Gymnasium in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

Mexico (2-1) and Nicaragua (1-2) will have to wait for the result between Puerto Rico (2-0) and Honduras (0-2) to determine their final position. The first place of the pool advances directly to the semifinals, while the second and third will play in Friday’s quarterfinals.

The NORCECA U17 Championship grants three slots to the FIVB World Championship to be held in 2024.

Mexico comfortably outperformed Nicaragua with a 42 to 19 advantage in attacks and a 12 to 1 lead in service points. Nicaragua led in blocks 6 to 4. Both teams committed 17 unforced errors.

Aitana Rettke MEX block

Mexico’s top scorers were opposite Yliana Zuñiga with 17 points on 11 kills  and a match-high of 6 aces, outside hitter Aitana Tanguma with 11 points on 8 kills, 2 blocks, and one ace, and middle blocker Brenda Esquivel with 9 points.

Keyling Olivas once again led Nicaragua with 7 points.

Mexico’s middle blocker Brenda Esquivel said, “Our attack was decisive, I am very satisfied with how well we did. The team needs to improve communication because we lose many balls due to our lack of communication”.

Denixa Zeledon, Nicaragua’s libero, said, “We needed to receive better; that made it difficult to score points from attacks. We will wait for the result of the next game, but I believe we will advance to the quarterfinals. We will fight every game”.

Mexico powers past Honduras in first victory at NORCECA U17

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, November 22, 2023. – Mexico powered past Honduras 3-0 (25-9, 25-10, 25-6) in their first victory at the NORCECA Girls’ U17 Continental Championship being held at the Jorge Galeano Gymnasium in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

With a 1-1 record in Pool A, Mexico will face Nicaragua, who also holds a 1-1 record, on Thursday, while Honduras, with a 0-2 record, will go up against undefeated Puerto Rico.

The NORCECA U17 championship qualifies three teams for the 2024 FIVB World Championship.

Yliana Zuniga – Cyntia Palomo MEX

Mexico dominated with a significant 38-7 lead in attacks and 14-2 in blocks. Honduras outperformed Mexico 3-0 in blocks. Mexico gave away 13 points on unforced errors, while Honduras totaled 23.

Mexico used its entire lineup, with opposite hitter Yliana Zúñiga as the top scorer of the match with 10 points. Middle blocker Brenda Esquivel contributed 8 points.

Dibanhi Barrera, libero of Mexico said, “We felt very confident on the court. There was a lot of communication among us. With yesterday’s defeat, we came in more united today, we did things well, and felt good. I think we worked the attack very well, we performed well in that aspect”.

Puerto Rico remains unbeaten after a straight set win against Nicaragua

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, November 22, 2023. – Puerto Rico defeated Nicaragua 3-0 (25-15, 25-18, 25-17) to remain undefeated in the first edition of the NORCECA Girls’ U17 Championship at the Jorge Galeano Gymnasium in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

The event, taking place from November 21 to 26, grants three berths for the 2024 FIVB World Championship.

Puerto Rico maintains an undefeated 2-0 record in Pool A and will finish the preliminary round on Thursday against the hosts Honduras. Nicaragua holds a 1-1 record and will face Mexico to advance to the next round.

After a strong start in the first set, Nicaragua surprised Puerto Rico with effective blocks, jumping to a four-point advantage (13-9) in the second set. Puerto Rico regrouped, took better control of the game, and closed it in three straight sets.

Puerto Rico celebrates

Puerto Rico dominated every skill of the game, kills (40-22), blocks (9-7), and aces (10-6); in addition to committing one less error (15-16) than Nicaragua.

Puerto Rico’s top scorers were Sara Lozano with 18 points on 17 kills and point from serves, Diangelie González with 10 points on 5 kills, 4 blocks, and one ace, and Kaila Alvarado with 9 points from attacks.

Keyling Olivas and Francehsca Viera, each with 9 points, were the top scorers for Nicaragua.

Sara Lozano from Puerto Rico said, “In the second set when Nicaragua took the lead, we had to communicate better to regain our game rhythm. I believe our unity has been crucial to staying undefeated. We will give our all to win tomorrow and finish with a strong attack”.

Keyling Olivas from Nicaragua mentioned, “We needed to be more effective in reception to maintain the advantage we had in the second set. We got a bit discouraged. We hope to advance to the next round”.

Dominican Republic dominates Cuba with Serves at NORCECA Sub-17

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, November 22, 2023. – Dominican Republic defeated Cuba 3-0 (27-25, 25-17, 25-15), dominating with a 15-6 advantage in serves and maintaining their undefeated record at the NORCECA Girls’ U17 Continental Championship being held in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

With the victory, Dominican Republic has a 2-0 record in Pool B and will face Canada (2-0) on Thursday to advance directly to Saturday’s semifinals. Cuba (0-2) will go against Costa Rica (0-2) for the third place in pool and a spot in the quarterfinals.

The tournament qualifies the top three teams for the FIVB World Championship in 2024.

In addition to dominating in serves, Dominican Republic outperformed Cuba 39 to 25 in attacks and 6-5 in blocks. Cuba limited their errors to 17, while the Dominicans committed 21.

Caroline Rodriguez and Virelys Rivera de DOM block

Three Dominican players scored double digits, outside hitter Virelys Rivera leading with 16 points (12 attacks, 4 aces), opposite Rayni Mondesi with 13 points (9 attacks, one block, 3 aces), and team captain Estel Santos with 12 points (10 attacks and 2 aces).

Cuban outside hitter Salet Castillo Valdes was the only player with double digits, scoring 14 points on 12 kills, one block, and ace.

Dominican team captain, Estel Santos, said, 2The first set was very close; I think we were too confident. We were able to press with the serve, as we did in the previous game; that’s what has kept us going, along with our friendship and good spirit”.

Cuba’s top scorer, Salet Castillo, said, “Our reception failed us a lot. I think we put too much pressure on ourselves because this is our first international competition. The attack went well, and I think we could have won the match”.

Canada undefeated at NORCECA U17 with Win over Costa Rica

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, November 22, 2023. – Canada triumphed 3-1 (25-19, 25-18, 21-25, 25-16) over Costa Rica to remain undefeated in the NORCECA Girls’ U17 Championship at the Jorge Galeano Gymnasium in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

This is the first Continental Championship in the category and grants three slots to the FIVB World Championship to be held in 2024.

Canada holds a 2-0 record in Pool B and will face the Dominican Republic on Thursday in the last day of the pool-play. Costa Rica has two losses and will conclude Pool B against Cuba.

Costa Rica pressed in the first set, forcing Canada to lose seven set points (24-12) before securing the victory at 25-19. Costa Rica won the third set, taking the lead 19-16 and forcing a fourth set that Canada ultimately won.


Canada comfortably outperformed Costa Rica 60-33 in attacks and 7-5 in blocks. Costa Rica finished with an 8-6 margin in service points. Canada benefited from Costa Rica’s 32 errors and committed 23 of their own.

Middle blocker Ella Hope contributed 19 points to Canada’s victory, with 13 kills, 3 blocks, and 3 aces. Outside hitters Natalie Wahlgren and Beatrice Pengelly contributed with 13 and 10 points, respectively.

Middle blocker Amanda Campos and outside hitter Nicole Leiva, with 11 points each, were the top scorers for Costa Rica.

Ella Hope, leading scorer of Canada expressed “Both teams fought really well and we came together as a team, communicating better. In the third set, it was a good game, it was back and forth, both teams were fighting really hard”.  

Amanda Campos, top scorer of Costa Rica said “We fought every point. We counterattacked Canada in the third set with a good attitude, despite being taller than us. We didn’t get the result, but we never gave up”.

Nicaragua sweeps Honduras on day one at NORCECA Girls’ U17

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, November 21, 2023. – Nicaragua defeated Honduras 3-0 (25-17, 25-7, 25-14) on the first day of the NORCECA Girls’ U17 Championship that began on Tuesday at the Jorge Galeano Gymnasium in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

The event, taking place from November 22 to 26, qualifies the top three teams for the 2024 FIVB World Championship.

On the second day of competition in Pool A, Nicaragua (1-0) will face Puerto Rico (1-0), and Honduras (0-1) will play against Mexico (0-1).

Ana Rodriguez NCA

From the second set onward, Nicaragua had no major difficulty in defeating Honduras, with a 29-13 superiority in attacks and 13-2 in aces.  Both teams scored 5 points on blocks. Nicaragua scored 28 points from Honduras’ unforced errors and committed 18.

Nicaragua’s middle blocker Karen Bird led all scorers with 12 points (6 kills, 3 blocks, 3 aces), followed by Franchesca Viera with 10 points (5 kills, one block, 4 aces).

For Honduras, middle blocker Lila Madrid topped with 6 points.

Lucía Columna, captain of Nicaragua, said, “We knew how to adapt well and avoided making many mistakes. The spirit was what I liked the most about my team.

“I think our attitude failed us; we came in strong in the first set, but then we faded. We hope to have more spirit tomorrow and hold our heads high to represent our country” said the captain of Honduras, Camila Figueroa.

Canada opens NORCECA Girls’ U17 with a tie-break win against Cuba

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, November 21, 2023.- Canada defeated Cuba in a tie-break 3-2 (26-28, 25-18, 16-25, 25-11, 15-9) to open their campaign in Pool B at the NORCECA Girls’ U17 Championship in Tegucigalpa, Honduras at the Jorge Galeano Gymnasium.

This is the first edition of the event that runs from November 21 to 26 and grants three slots to the 2024 FIVB World Championship.

In Pool B action on day two, Canada (1-0) will face Costa Rica (0-1) and Cuba (0-1) plays against Dominican Republic (1-0).

It was a roller coaster performance for both teams, where Canada started leading all five sets. Canada forced the fifth set capitalizing on their effective serves.

Canada led in every skill of the game, kills (50-35), blocks (8-5) and aces (19-13). Cuba scored on 28 Canadian errors and gave away 30.

Beatrice Pengelly CAN block

Outside hitter Beatrice Pengelly was Canada’s top scorer with 21 points on 15 kills, one block and a match-high of 5 aces. Outside hitter Natalie Wahlgren added 12 points on 8 kills, one block and three aces, joined by opposite Dasia Smith with 11 points on 5 kills, two blocks and four aces.

On Cuba’s side, outside hitter Salet Castillo scored 21 points on 15 kills, two blocks and four aces, and team captain Yesica Brito contributed 12 points on 8 kills and four aces.

“This match was amazing even though we came out not strong on serves. We came out strong in the end and the fifth set was so live; we were so hype and it was a great win. Our communication can be better” said Beatrice Pengelly.

Yesica Brito, captain of Cuba indicated “Honestly, I think the nerves contributed to performing with ups and downs, because it’s the first time we travel outside to represent Cuba. Tomorrow we will recover with our attacks which are our best weapon”.

Three World Championship Tickets Up for Grabs at NORCECA Girls’ U17 in Honduras

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, November 20, 2023.- Eight national teams will battle in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, at the first edition of the NORCECA Girls’ Under 17 Continental Championship to earn three tickets to the inaugural FIVB Age-Group World Championship to be held in 2024.

The head coaches had the chance to give their first statements on the eve of the competition.

Amy Wilson, Head Coach of Canada: “Our team prepared by coming together and practicing, we also did some sessions on zoom for team bonding as we are spread out from across the country.  What I expect from this event is some self-growth, self-improvement within our athletes as well as our coaching staff, to continue to work hard and to get to the play-offs”.

Nicolás Docquier, Head Coach of Costa Rica: “We have prepared very well, the girls have been in competition in our local tournaments and that gives us an advantage. We haven’t had many days together, nevertheless, the athletes are committed to the team, it’s a new experience for them and for me as head coach. We are excited, happy and we will give our all on the court”.

Rogelio Goytizolo, Head Coach of Cuba: “It’s really good that we are going to inaugurate a competition that had never been held before in the area. We are seeking an improvement in the performance of the women’s team in Cuba, and it is very important to do it from the bases, creating a higher level of competitiveness. We hope to gain the best results from the competition. We are here to book a ticket to the World Championship; the girls are coming with high hopes to accomplish it”.

Wilson Sánchez, Head Coach of Dominican Republic: “Being the first edition of this age-group event and considering that the players are younger, there will be a lot of pressure among them, but we hope to have a nice tournament regardless of that. Since there are no preparation matches, we will solve any difficulties that arise along the way. In this age-group, players want to show their abilities, so it will be a very nice tournament, and we are asking them to enjoy it, doing their best. The goal as a country, given the level of the Dominican Republic has shown, is to reach the finals”.

Marcos Sugiyama, Head Coach of Honduras: “The team has been training hard for the past month and a half, and we are making changes so that the athletes stop thinking like they do in school training, to that of training in a national team; it has been positive to change the story we are building. The goal is to battle every day, play well every day, and be close to those national teams that win championships, the journey is long, but we are ready to battle”.

Ignacio Sánchez, Head Coach of Mexico: “We are coming well, we have worked hard. We have selected players from all across the country, doing scouting during our national festivals. We think the team is strong enough to compete for a berth for Worlds and a medal”.

Claudia Noguera, Head Coach of Nicaragua: “Like everyone in this tournament, the team is new, but we have four players who have competed in Central American events, in addition to their growth they have undergone in our national Under-19 league, and that brings a bit of experience. All of them are enthusiastic to represent the country in a first event of this age-group, which is important for the development of young athletes in Central American and NORCECA”.

Juan Carlos Nuñez, Head Coach of Puerto Rico: “This is a valuable opportunity to be here at this tournament, it’s the first time we call this age-group in Puerto Rico. It is a valuable opportunity to be in a tournament like this; its is the first call in Puerto Rico for this age-group. We are bringing talented girls, but due to the timing of the tournament, there were difficulties in gathering them and training for such an event. The athletes come from playing in the school tournament in Puerto Rico and have been active individually. As a team, we were together for a month, but not every day. I always set high goals, so we will aim to be in the top three positions”.