PRESS RELEASE 16.12.2003


Cuba takes the first step to Athens

Santo Domingo, December 15, 2003 - Cuba took the first step toward Athens with a 3-1 victory over Canada in the opening match of the NORCECA Women's Olympic Qualifier in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Yumilka Ruiz, Zoila Barros, Nancy Carrillo and Yaima Ortiz all scored in double figures as the three-time Olympic Champions defeated the Canadians by score of 25-18, 25-14, 24-26, 25-19.

Ruiz had 16 points, and Carrillo and Barros scored 15 apiece while Ortiz contributed with 10.

“I am satisfied with the victory,” said Luis Felipe Calderon, the Cuban coach. “Even in the third set that we lost I liked the way the team reacted to tie it before falling out to a young Canadian team who was always battling.”

The Canadians had their best scorer in Bard Bellini who had 18 points to lead all the players. Sarah Pavan scored 10.

“My team did what they could against a team like Cuba,” said Lorne Sawula, the Canadian coach. “We have seven players in my team that never had played against the Cubans. Some times you can frustrate Cuba like we did in the third set, but you have to keep doing that with consistency to beat them.”