July 1, 2003 - The Dominican Republic started the second women's Pan American Cup on the right foot with a convincing straight sets victory over hosts Mexico on the opening day before a packed crowd in the Convention Center of Coahuila.
Led by the attack of Milagros Cabral, the Dominicans cruised to a confortable 25-21, 25-19, 25-16 win.
“They went out determined to do well,” said new coach Jorge Garbey. “I have given them enough confidence and today it paid dividends”
“It is very good from a mental point to start winning against the local team,” said Cabral, who plays himself in Spain. “But we can’t rest on our laurels and the team needs to keep working hard the rest of the tournament.”
In other matches on the opening day, Canada defeated Puerto Rico 3-1, while Cuba blanked Venezuela and USA did the same against Brazil.
Puerto Rico won the first set 25-22, but the Canadians regained composure and won the next three by the score of 25-22, 25-18, 25-23 courtesy of the strong offense of Janis Kelly.
“We were a little bit anxious in the first set, but then we talked and decided to have fun and enjoy the game,” said Ann Marie Lemieux, the Canadian captain. “We made the adjustments and got the victory.”
The strong jumping services by Canada caused a lot of problems to the Puerto Rican reception, and the North Americans also took advantage of their height blocking at the net.
“It is important to start with a win,” said coach Lorne Sawula. “Now we have to prepare for the next matches against Brazil and USA. We can also keep testing our players for our next participation in the 2003 World Grand Prix.”
Cuba and USA confirmed their positions as big favorites for the tournament with comfortable victories. The Cubans started the defense of the title cruising over Venezuela and Brazil, heavily supported by the local crowd, proved to be no contest against the power of the Americans.
The Pan American Cup is an official event of NORCECA Confederation and the top four teams will advance to the 2004 World Grand Prix. The top South American team will also qualify if one does not finish in the top four.
Pool A: Brazil vs Canada, Puerto Rico vs USA.
Pool B: Venezuela vs Dominican Republic, México vs Cuba.