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Nicaragua wins tough duel to Panama in their debut


MANAGUA, Nicaragua, December 1, 2016. - Host Nicaragua won a tough duel to Panama 3-1 (25-20, 20-25, 27-25, 25-16) in their debut at the AFECAVOL Women’s FIVB World Championship qualification tournament on Thursday night.


The home team was forced to use all their resources to beat a fierce Panama that extended the actions to four sets. In set three, Nicaragua lost four set points as Panama pushed strong with unstoppable kills. Setter Hashlyn Cuero of Panama left the match in set four due to cramping. Nicaragua earns their first win while Panama stands with 1-1 record.


The stats of the match show both teams’ good performance, Panama led in spikes 44-43 and in blocks 11-10, while Nicaragua controlled the service category with 6-4 advantage. Nicaragua scored on Panama’s 38 errors and committed 27.


Middle blocker Hellen Traña and outside hitter Amalia Hernandez contributed to Nicaragua’s victory with 13 points apiece, and middle blocker Josafat Diaz scored 10 points. Outside hitter Maria Gallimore of Panama led all scorers with 17 points, her teammates Joanna Arroyo and Hashlyn Cuero added 14 and 10 points respectively.


On day three of competition, Panama (1-1) will face Guatemala (2-0) while Nicaragua (1-0) meets with Honduras (0-1).


Claudia Noguera, captain of Nicaragua was excited “the excitement is double; we are inaugurating a new venue with a victory. It was a tough match, Panama was very strong, especially in blocking us, and in the end we were able to counterattack. I consider it was good show for our fans and they left satisfied. Rene guided us in taking the initiative after dropping the second set”.


Panama’s captain Joanna Arroyo indicated “facing the home team is always difficult, and Nicaragua past the entire year preparing for the tournament; in contrast from us, we practiced for only a couple of weeks, despite this I want to congratulate my team because we played strong. Winning a set was important and we were very close in winning the third set. Tomorrow we’ll come out hard, we want to win and we need it if we expect to continue alive”.


Rene Quintana, Nicaragua’s head coach first thanked the local media and fans that came to see them; after that he spoke about the match “it was hard, we must study som things. It’s important to start off with a victory. Panama played strong, with good level; finally we closed well, I consider it was a different match in set four. We know our defense is much better than today”.


Eliot Clarke, head coach of Panama expressed “we didn’t play volleyball, we committed too many errors, we lost a lot of serves, our defense was off and our setter wasn’t focused. We have to work on our defense because we aren’t moving enough; Nicaragua beat us mostly by touching the ball”.