PRESS RELEASE 04.01.2004


NORCECA Men - Mexico win five-setter over Puerto Rico

Caguas, Puerto Rico, January 4, 2004 - The combined offense of Ivan Contreras and Jose Luis Martell gave Mexico a spectacular five set victory over Puerto Rico on the first day of the NORCECA Men's Olympic Qualifier in Puerto Rico.

Contreras and Martell scored 21 and 20 points respectively to lead Mexico to a satisfying 25-22, 17-25, 25-23, 23-25, 15-13 win.

"This one was very similar to the match we had in the last NORCECA Championship in Culiacan," said Contreras, the Mexican captain. "The two teams play with a lot of intensity and we play very hard against each other. I think today we had more gas at the end."

Luis Ruiz, the Puerto Rican coach, pointed out the weak service of his side as one of the key elements for the loss.

"We can not continue with weak serves," he said. "Our players need to improve that important ingredient in today's Volleyball, because we are practically giving up the ball to the opponent."

Puerto Rico now go up against Canada, who lost to Cuba in the opening match of the competition, on Tuesday.

"We must win that match in order to maintain our hope of playing in the next phase," said Ruiz. "We need to focus on defeating Canada, a team with very tall players".