GUADALAJARA, Mexico, August 29,
2021. - Puerto Rico defeated host Mexico in a
close 3-1 (25-22, 25-19, 25-27, 25-23) to play
in the Women’s NORCECA Continental Championship
semifinals in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Puerto Rico will face Canada in Monday's
semifinals; the winners earn a ticket to the
2022 FIVB World Championship and will play for
NORCECA gold. Puerto Rico and Canada played in
the preliminary round, with Canada winning in
four sets to top pool A.
The other semifinal features defending champion
Dominican Republic against the United States.
Puerto Rico led in kills with a 54-48 margin and
in serves with 6-2 advantage; Mexico did better
in blocks 11-8 and committed fewer unforced
Outside hitter Marie Victoria topped Puerto
Rico’s attackers with 16 points all in kills.
Middle blocker Neira Ortiz along with outside
hitter Stephanie Enright joined the winning
campaign with 11 points each.
Mexican Samantha Bricio led all scorers with 20
points and opposite hitter Andrea Rangel
contributed with 18 points for Mexico.
Natalia Valentin, Captain of Puerto Rico: “In
the third and fourth sets, Mexico stabilized
their reception and they were able to attack
from the middle and that was when things got
difficult for us. We continued despite the
pressure, it’s not easy beating Mexico at home.
Our calm and patience helped and we focused on
what we needed to do”.
Fernando Morales, Coach of Puerto Rico: “We were
aware that it wasn’t going to be easy, my
assistant remind me that as players it was the
same in 2011, in this same venue, when we were
up against Mexico playing to reach the
Pan-American Games semifinals and they won, the
pressure was too much and I didn’t want the same
to happen here.
Sabíamos que no sería fácil, estando dos sets
arriba de México y en su casa fue difícil; me
recordó mi asistente que en nuestra época de
jugadores, en esta misma cancha en 2011 íbamos
arriba 2-0 contra México para pasar a
semifinales en los Panamericanos y ellos nos
vencieron, fue mucha presión. My players deserve
the credit, they performed well under pressure
and we were able to finish in the fourth set”.
Rafael Petry, Coach of Mexico: “This was an
intense match, I believe Puerto Rico’s
experienced players (even if they haven’t been
training together) know how to benefit in key
moments during the game. We need to learn from
the difficult moments we face, trust the process
because there is a lot to learn and we will come
back stronger for our next opportunities”.