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Costa Rica wins spectacular five setter to Guatemala


MANAGUA, Nicaragua, December 13, 2017. – Defending champions Costa Rica defeated Guatemala in five spectacular sets 3-2 (22-25, 25-18, 25-15, 16-25, 11-15) in the women’s Volleyball tournament of the eleventh Central American Games Managua 2017 at Alexis Argüello sport complex.


Costa Rica started a little tentative as Guatemalan blocker hold off any attempt by the winners on taking the lead. It was Guatemala who took the initiative with wide advantage in sets two and three. Using several combinations in their line-up, Costa Rica gained strength to finish with the win.


The last time Costa Rica and Guatemala played, was in 2014 at the AFECAVOL Cup, with Costa Rica winning 3-1; and in the past Central American Games in 2013, Costa Rica won 3-0.


Costa Rica remains unbeaten with 3-0 record and 13 points, while Guatemala has 2-1 record and 10 points.


Costa Rica controlled the serving category on 8-3 margin, while Guatemala held a comfortable 13-8 margin in blocking and a slim difference of 48-46 in kills. Costa Rica committed 35 unforced errors and Guatemala 36.


Opposite Paola Ramirez topped Costa Rica’s scorers with 15 points, alongside middle blocker Mijal Hines and outside hitter Marcela Araya with 14 and 11 points respectively. Guatemala was led by opposite Rut Gomez on a match-high of 21 points, followed by outside hitter Blanca Recinos with 19 points and Estefanie Bethancourt with 10 points.


On Thursday, Costa Rica (3-0) faces El Salvador (0-3) and Guatemala (2-1) meets with hosts Nicaragua (3-0).


Captain of Costa Rica Mijal Hines: “Guatemala was a tough opponent; we are satisfied with the result. Our passion to pull off the victory was remarkable. Four years ago the Willis sisters were part of the team and now we are re constructing the group; our volleyball has been dominant in the area, starting from the younger categories up to seniors; there are talented players for us to build a stronger team”.


Captain of Guatemala Blanca Recinos: “It was a tough match, both teams performed well and there is still road ahead and Guatemala has more to show. We must concentrate in our performance because anything can happen and the results may vary in the end. I am pleased because I don’t remember playing five sets to Costa Rica; We are better prepared physically and technically speaking, but our anxiety took the best of us. We played well, but we wanted a different outcome”.


Head coach of Costa Rica Cesar Salas: “It was a good game. Our game plan was well structured, we had studied Guatemala’s possible variations; the plan worked out in the first set. Guatemala is very good team and they didn’t allow us to perform in sets two and three, they blocked us well. The team improved by playing faster and by the middle with Irene, but we are building new players so everyone can respond, that gives us assurance”.


Head coach of Guatemala William Fernandez: “My players executed our game plan in the middle of the match; we lost the first set but playing well. We needed to close the fourth set, but the team was disorganized with Costa Rica’s new line-up that controlled our blockers and destabilized our offense. We are working hard and on track, yes we lost but playing well”.