Costa Rica finally gets off the mark


PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, July 19, 2014 -  Costa Rica defeated Panama 25-19, 25-19, 23-25, 25-18 to finally get off the mark on the penultimate night of the NORCECA Women’s Playoff Volleyball Tournament Saturday at Sport & Physical Education Centre of the St Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies.


The winning team in the five-nation round-robin tournament on Sunday night will earn the 24th and final ticket to compete from September 23-October 12 in the World Championships.  


But after being involved in the last two editions, Costa Rica have no chance to make it this time as they had lost their first two fixtures against Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago.


They conclude their campaign on Sunday against Nicaragua, but the Panamanians, the lowest ranked team in the tournament at No. 55 in the world, said goodbye Saturday night after winning just two sets from their four matches.


After scoring a tournament-high 20 points, Costa Rican captain Angela Willis Lindo captain said: “We still need to improve, and improve quickly, even though we are the No. 1-ranked team in Central America.”


Coach Horacio Bastit was still “not satisfied with the performance.” But he pointed “we improved on the serve tonight and that was our biggest weakness in the other games.”


Paolo Ramirez Vargas (15) and Lindo’s sister Verania (11) also scored in double figures for the winners, while Panama’s leading contributors on the scoreboard were skipper Johanna Arroyo (16) and Katherine Taju (13).


Costa Rica had a slight edge in both spikes (16-15) and blocked shots (8-7) and both teams committed 30 errors each in the 106-minute encounter.


“We improved our reception tonight, but they are very experienced and know how to work as a team. They took advantage of our weaknesses,” said Panama’s coach Reynaldo Ortega, who also pointed out that he is proud of his team as no one expected them to reach this far.