Peru moves into first ever U18 Pan Am Cup Gold Medal Match

DURANGO, Mexico, May 25, 2019.- Peru moved into their first ever U18 Girls’ Pan American Cup  gold medal match over host Mexico in dramatic five-set victory 3-2 (20-25, 25-23, 18-25, 25-22, 22-20) at Auditorio del Pueblo in Durango, Mexico.

Peru silenced the crowd that witnessed a spectacular overtime semifinal with Mexican Melanie Parra scoring impressive 30 points for a tournament-high.

Peru will face Puerto Rico for the title in what will be a re-match of the preliminary round won by the Caribbean team in five sets. In another re-match, Mexico plays against Chile, for the bronze medal match and the last berth to the FIVB World Championship.

It was a spectacular display of force over the net, long rallies and impressive kills on both sides. Mexico took the lead while jumping to a six point lead (17-11) as Peru struggled to stop Mexico’s Melanie Parra. Peru found their momentum in set two as Mexico lost concentration while the South Americans scored from everywhere coming from behind to a close 25-23 finish.  Mexico and Peru engaged in remarkable rallies during set three, showing their skills in defense but it was the home team that came on top. In set four, Peru limited their errors and Mexico’s offense took time to kick; Peru’s blocking was right on the spot recovering from a three point deficit (7-10) and keeping the scores in their favor from the second technical time-out forcing the tie-break. In overtime, Peru jumped to a three point lead (8-5) attacking with their characteristic velocity using Maria Lopez in the middle; Peru went on pushing improving to a five point lead (13-8) in a battle that turned in a thriller finish with extended 22-20.

Peru led only in attacks 65-58, while the home team held advantage with impressive 13-6 margin in blocks, 7-4 in aces and committed fewer errors (35-37).

Janelly Ceopa led Peru’s four double-digit scorers with 21 points including 20 kills; Alondra Alarcon (13pts), Carolina Milla (12pts) and Yohmara Rivera (11pts). Joining top scorer Mexican Melanie Parra was Marian Ovalle and Sofia Maldonado with 19 and 13 point accordingly.

Yadhira Anchante Peru’s captain expressed excited “this was a really tough match for the ones playing and the bench players as well, everybody was supporting. Mexico is a good opponent. The fifth set was thrilling but with our energy and hearts we came on top”. About the influence of the crowd she said “we knew playing against the fans and we told ourselves that every cheer against us would motivate us to score more points, using it as incentive. We don’t think about what’s happening outside the court. Tomorrow we will give our best, with Puerto Rico we lost already 3-2, it will be a re-match and I believe we will prevail”.

Mexico’s captain Melanie Parra said “it was tough, we had many opportunities to win, but for some reason things didn’t go our way and we didn’t reach our goal. Tomorrow against Chile we will come out strong, hoping for a good result. We beat Chile in our poll, they aren’t easy, but it’s possible”.