Colombia defeats Mexico and will face Peru in semifinals

CALI, Colombia, December 3, 2021. - Host Colombia defeated Mexico in a five set thriller 3-2 (25-20, 25-22, 22-25, 22-25, 15-7) to top pool A and will face Peru at the women’s volleyball tournament of the I Junior Pan American Games Cali-Valle 2021.

Colombia finished pool-play with 3-0 undefeated record while Mexico’s loss benefited Argentina for second place.

In semifinals, Colombia will play against Peru that finished second in pool B. The other semifinal features Argentina against top B finisher, Brazil.

Colombia's strength in blocking stopped Mexico with a huge 15-6 advantage and finishing with a slim 5-4 margin in serves; Mexico led 63-52 in attacks. Colombia committed 26 errors and Mexico handed out 37 points.

Middle blocker Darlevis Mosquera and outside hitter Ana Karina Olaya led Colombia with 18 points each; Darlevis led in blocking with 8 points. Outside hitter Laura Grajales and middle blocker Valerin Carabali also contributed in Colombia’s victory with 16 and 12 points respectively.

Mexican captain Grecia Castro scored a match-high of 25 points; followed by opposite hitter Marian Ovalle with 17 points and middle blocker Renata López added 12 points.  

Valerin Carabali, captain of Colombia: “We started pool-play with a win in three sets and then things became hard, both wins were in five complicated sets. Today we expected a long match, but I believe we could have finished earlier, but we committed too many errors. We were really focused in the end, we did our job and we were able to stop Mexico. The team has been united and that has helped us to recover from critical moments”.

Eduardo Niño, head coach of Colombia: “Since we were preparing we knew it was going to be long, we made a change from yesterday’s performance and for moments we lost the game in the middle; when we rotated to what we needed it all worked out”.

Luis León, head coach of Mexico: “Another pool-match in five sets, Colombia is a really good team; they took advantage of their physical attributes. The entire match was about attitude, state of mind, rather than technical or tactics. We are left out of the battle for medals but we reached our goal of qualifying to the Pan American Games in 2023”.