Puerto Rico reaches U18 Pan Am title match and qualifies to FIVB
DURANGO, Mexico, May 25, 2019. - Puerto Rico reaches the U18
Girls’ Pan American title match and qualifies to the FIVB World
Championship after beating Chile 3-1 (15-25, 25-19, 25-21,
25-18) in semifinals at Auditorio del Pueblo of Durango, Mexico.
Puerto Rico wins one of the two tickets available to the FIVB
World Championship, which they return for seventh occasion; the
last time was in 2013 when they won the berth also at the U18
Pan Am Cup and reached the title match losing to Brazil.
Puerto Rico was passive in the first set, while Chile performed
technically orderly, the same way they did against Cuba, jumping
to a comfortable four point lead (11-7) that grew into a strong
25-15 finish. Both teams were cautious in set two, Puerto Rico
took the control with sizeable six point margin (12-6) with
better blocking and strength in attack by Sofia Victoriá that
returned after missing three matches. Puerto Rico was always on
top. Set three had more intensity with the scores tied from
point five until Chile was able to move ahead with five point
margin (17-12); Puerto Rico worked hard to tie taking the lead
two sets to one. Puerto Rico took the initiative in the fourth
set; they proposed and moved into the final match.
Puerto Rico led 47-37 in spikes and by slim 8-7 margin in
blocks; Chile held 5-1 advantage in aces and both teams finished
with 34 unforced errors.
Sofia Victoriá was crucial in Puerto Rico’s victory scoring a
match-high of 24 points including 22 kills, alongside Alondra
Maldonado with 11 points. Maria Jesus Muñoz led Chile with 18
points followed by Ignacia Badilla with 12 points.
Sofía Victoriá, Puerto Rico’s captain said excited “we are very
proud of our performance, we are grateful of reaching our
objective, qualifying to worlds. We dedicate this victory to our
family, our coaches, they have done a spectacular job and to
everybody who has supported us. I also congratulate Chile
because they’ve had a great tournament. Our strength was our
blocks, passing and we score many points on kills. We failed in
serves; it’s something to work hard on”. About her recovery she
indicated “I’m not fully recovered, I’m working on it”. She
added that having qualified to the worlds they are more relaxed
but they have their minds set on first place”.
Juan Carlos Rodríguez Puerto Rico’s coach said “I am glad, we
planned one game at a time and it gave result, we knew it was
going to be difficult to qualify to the World Championship
because there are teams with high level here, but my girls
worked as we asked them. It was a slow a calm match, slow, but
always telling our girls to take the control and that’s what