SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador, July 4, 2023.- Puerto Rico defeated Mexico 3-1 (25-15, 25-20, 21-25, 25-23) in the opening match of the Women’s Volleyball tournament of the 2023 San Salvador Central American Games at the Sports Palace Carlos El Famoso Hernández.
Puerto Rico stormed past Mexico in the first set and second sets, jumping an early six-point lead (12-6) and a four-point lead (13-9) respectively. Mexico’s offensive efforts kicked in the third, recovering from a four-point deficit (8-12) up to a 25-20 win and forcing a fourth close set win for Puerto Rico.
Both teams scored 10 points from blocks and Puerto Rico held a 3-1 advantage in points from serves, but Puerto Rico’s offense in points from attacks, 61 to 47, were the major difference in their Pool A opening win. Unforced errors were balanced, Puerto Rico with 25 and Mexico a total of 22.
Opposite hitter Brittanny Abercrombie of Puerto Rico scored a match-high of 26 points from 25 kills and one ace. Outside hitter Paola Santiago added 20 points on 16 kills, two blocks and two aces. Outside hitter Elaine Vazquez also contributed to the win with 18 points (16 kills, 2 blocks).
On Mexico’s side, outside hitter Melanie Parra and Grecia Castro led with 14 and 13 points respectively; Parra on 12 kills and one ace, and Grecia all on kills. Team captain Andrea Rangel and middle blocker Jocelyn Urias scored 10 points each.
On Wednesday, Puerto Rico faces Costa Rica and Mexico will play defending champion Dominican Republic.
Shara Venegas, Captain of Puerto Rico: “We have known each other since we were girls with Mexico, we know each other well. We prepared well and were strongly focused to come out with the victory. We are headed back to the Villa very happy after winning such an important match because of the competition format”.
Fernando Morales, Head Coach of Puerto Rico: “The Central American Games is an important event followed by many in Puerto Rico and we are celebrating this win with a lot of joy. Our aggressiveness in the beginning was important, Mexico was going to come out to pressure us from the beginning and being on top 2-0 gave us confidence. They (Mexico) responded strongly, and we were able to resist. I congratulate my young players Paola Santiago and Alondra Vázquez for a job well done”.
Andrea Rangel, Captain of Mexico: “Our performance was more stable in the third and fourth sets. We were pressured for the importance of the game, literally it was a classification match and I think it’s not good for anyone, having a first match that decides who moves in Central American Games and at 10:30 in the morning isn’t favorable for anybody. We continue to work, to learn and take advantage of every match to keep on improving”.
Nicola Negro, Head Coach of Mexico: “We didn’t start the game well. We lacked rhythm at the beginning, we weren’t organized. In the third set we were more balanced, and we played two sets well, but our block-defense wasn’t disciplined at the closing of the fourth set”.