Attacker Verania Willis (CRC) in action
MANAGUA, Nicaragua, November 28, 2004 - Costa Rica successfully defended the crown as Volleyball zonal queen with a triumph in straight sets over Guatemala in the final match of the XIII Women’s Central America Cup.
MVP Verania Willis led the Costa Ricans in the victory 25-23, 25-16, 25-23 for their tenth title -seven in a row- in the history of the event. In the match for the bronze medal, Nicaragua defeated Honduras 25-12, 23-25, 25-16, 25-18.
It is the second MVP for Willis, who also earned the distinction in the 2002 edition also in Nicaragua and in the same court Polideportivo Espana.
"She was outstanding!" said the coach Braulio Godinez about Willis, one of two siblings in the team. "Verania has improved a lot since playing in the United States."
Her powerful spikes were decisive in taking Costa Rica to the throne, but she also receive solid cooperation from setter Dionisia Thompson and the kills of Ingrid Morales.
Both Willis sisters (Angela is the other) are participating in their first season with the Palm Beach Community College in Florida.
"We dominated the whole match, but the anxiety caught us for moments,”"said Godinez. "It looked like we wanted to finish the match before it was over."
Guatemala made things complicated for the champions changing the pace of the attack and frequently avoiding the high block of the Willis, but at the end the strength and experience of the Costa Ricans was the big difference.
Captain Maria Jose Orellana stood out for Guatemala as also did the trio of the Burmester sibblings (Julianne, Marie Franz and Annelise).
With the final point the players celebrated with great joy in the center of the court and ended singing the national anthem of Costa Rica.
The victory of the "Ticas" did not surprise anybody. They started the event as heavy favorites and crushed the opposition losing only one set to Guatemala in the preliminary round.
Verania Willis, best attacker of the tournament, was one of three players from the champions in the All-Star Team. She was joined by teammates Ingrid Morales and Silvia Marin, as best server and libero. Nicaraguans Mireyeines Tellez and Heidy Trana were best setter and blocker respectively and Guatemalan Diana Arias was the best receiver.