Costa Rican Angela Willis delivering a powerful spike
MANAGUA, Nicaragua.- November 26, 2004 - Costa Rica moved to the final match of the XIII Women’s Central America Cup with a 3-1 victory over Guatemala.
It was the third consecutive triumph without losses for the Costa Ricans who are looking for their tenth crown in the history of the event. Guatemala fell to a 2-1 record. The score was 25-21, 19-25, 25-20, 25-21.
The tandem of attacker Verania Willis and setter Dionisia Thompson was the key for the victory that confirmed Costa Rica as favourite to retain the crown.
In their first two matches, the Costa Ricans scored 3-0 victories over Honduras and El Salvador with the attack and defense of sisters Angela and Verania Willis. On Thursday they lost the second set when committed several errors and seemed out of control, but after that brief lapse they regained composure and established their superiority.
Today Costa Rica will meet host Nicaragua (2-1) in a match that could define the other finalist if Nicaragua win. In case of a loss for the local team, then Guatemala will be in the gold medal match on Saturday.
In Thursday’s second match, Nicaragua overcame a loss in the first set to defeat Honduras 3-1 (23-25, 25-13, 25-21, 25-19).
The spikes of Heidy Rostran, Bertha Fierro and Heissel Carcache and the effective serves of Mireynes Tellez helped Nicaragua to surpass the first set hurdle.
The Nicaraguans, who lost to Guatemala in five sets in their second match of the event, need a victory over Costa Rica in three or four sets to get the ticket to the final.
"We need to win 3-0 or 3-1 to finish better than Guatemala. Is the only way we have to get into the final. The key is to win without getting to five sets," said Rene Quintanal, the coach of Nicaragua.
"The girls worked very well in these first three matches, as is the case of Johanna Padilla who has looked good," added Quintanal. "But people tend to criticize only the errors without praising the right things."
The coach recognized the good level showed by Costa Rica in the event but he is also confident that his players can upgrade their level tonight with Padilla, Heidy Trana, Rostran and Fierro.
"We are not disappointed," said Padilla. "Costa Rica is a team with strong blocking, but we hope to go forward. It is not an impossible task, we are going to fight."