Peru is the U18 Girls’ Pan American Champion

DURANGO, Mexico, May 26, 2019. - Peru is the Girls’ U18 Pan American Champion defeating Puerto Rico 3-0 (26-24, 25-16, 25-22) in the title match of the fifth edition of the event that concluded on Sunday at Auditorio del Pueblo of Durango, Mexico.

Peru entered the event already qualified to the FIVB World Championship, won their first ever U18 Pan American Cup and first ever medal in the history of the event. For Puerto Rico, this is their second silver medal; they lost to Brazil in 2013.

Set one has long rallies, fast moves and was tied on numerous occasions with points going to each side; Puerto Rico lost two set-points (24-22) to Peru’s effective blockers to move on top 26-24. In set two, Peru did not give up and kept on pushing hard, finding a way to move on top on Puerto Rico’s errors to a sizeable 18-10 advantage commanded by Alondra Alarcon and Janelly Ceopa; Puerto Rico with little opportunities to respond. In set three Puerto Rico started strong to be on top 10-7 but Peru remained calm and struck back harder to finish with the straight set win.

Peru won the title match to Puerto Rico leading 42-34 in spikes and committing fewer errors (18-29). Puerto Rico was superior in blocks 7-4 and in aces by 3-1.

Outside hitter Janelly Ceopa topped Peru’s scorers with a match-high of 15 points all in kills, outside hitter Alondra Alarcon scored 10 points on kills and opposite Camila Perez finished with 9 points. Sofia Victoriá led Puerto Rico with 13 points on kills and Valeria Otero along with Alondra Maldonado joined in with 9 and 8 points respectively.

Janelly Ceopa, the best scorer said “we are very happy to have reached our objective”. About facing Puerto Rico again she added “we lost to them in pool-play and today we had a better attitude, we used all our strength and things were different. We didn’t allow Puerto Rico to breathe because they could have made things difficult”.

Natalia Málaga Peru’s coach indicated “this victory comes from many years working, our preparation has taken time to reach our objectives, and for that you practice and work. Today I was worried that Puerto Rico could wake up and pressure us, this is normal in this category because the girls have ups and downs to manage a final match mentally speaking. These two teams are strong and they performed different than in pool-play where the match was dynamic, maybe Puerto Rico didn’t want to play that much because they have qualified to worlds and Peru had too much pressure to win, who knows; its difficult to prepare them mentally”.