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Costa Rica overcame Uruguay to enjoy first win


HAVANA, Cuba, March 31, 2017 – Costa Rica enjoyed their first victory at the U18 Girls’ Pan American Cup when they finally stopped Uruguay in the tie-breaker of a 3-2 (25-22, 25-12, 22-25, 17-25, 15-7) victory on Friday at Ciudad Deportiva Coliseum.


 Costa Rican wing-spiker Tamara Espinoza was the best scorer (22), followed by teammate Beatriz Saenz (12), a middle-blocker.


For the South Americans, the offensive was led by the wing spikers, Melissa Paez (12) and Natalia Rodriguez (10). 


On Saturday, Uruguay will play for the ninth place against the losing team of the match between Puerto Rico-Guatemala. Costa Rica will meet the winners for the seventh place.


Andres Lopez, coach of Costa Rica: “We know Uruguay is a fighting team and we are called to learn from the South American teams. We lost our mind in the third set as we stopped doing our playing. However in the fifth set we focused on the match again. Although both teams were affected by exhaustion, my girls were better prepared for the tie-break, I think.”


Luis Baladon, coach of Uruguay: “The Charrúa fighting spirit must be from the very first point. Otherwise, we take many risks as it happened now when they gave many opportunities. In addition the Libero did not respond at the end, the setting was not effective and they were a little nervous when defining the ball after having controlled their rivals with the attack.”


Tamara Espinoza, captain of Costa Rica: “Today we came looking strongly for the triumph. We really lost our concentration, but fortunately we were able to react at the right time.”


Natalia Rodriguez, captain of Uruguay: “In the fifth set, we lacked attitude and our characteristic fighting spirit in spite of having come from behind in the third and fourth sets.”