June 2, 2003 - Defending champions Cuba held on for their second victory in the Pan American Women’s Cup after seeing off the home side Mexico in three sets 25-19, 27-25, 25-23 before more than 4,500 fans in the Coahuila Convention Center.
The Cubans easily took the first set with the cannon spikes of ace Yumilka Ruiz and Martha Sanchez and the overall performance of Zoila Barros and Yanelis Santos.
However, the young Mexican squad put up big resistence in a second set that saw the score levelled five times, but at the end the Olympic reigning champions prevailed with the offense of Nancy Carrillo and Rosir Calderón.
“Mexico played a good game,” said Cuban coach Luis Felipe Calderon. “It was a great experience for us to see a rival of that calibre in the area.”
“I hope the fans continue to support the tournament despite the two losses of Mexico,” he added, “because there are very good teams here and the competition will be of a very high quality.”
Mexican coach Sergio Hernandez was satisfied with the game of his side. “I think our team showed today what is able to do. On Monday (against the Dominican Republic) we just had a bad outing. The fans saw the team, not in 100 per cent form, but it played good generally speaking.”
In other matches, USA and Dominican Republic took their second victories of the tournament while Brazil open their account with a comfortable 3-0 (25-18, 25-21, 25-19) victory over Canada.
USA beat Puerto Rico 3-0 using all of their regulars most of the time and relied on a strong blocking game to dominate.
“We came here to qualify for the 2004 World Grand Prix,” said Danielle Scott, the American captain. “We go for that goal tomorrow against Canada and then we will start the battle for the championship.”
Dominican Republic defeated Venezuela in straight sets. The islanders survived a 0-7 deficit in the first set to finally come out on top by 27-25. From there they cruised to victory 25-15, 25-11.
Pool A USA (2-0), Canada (1-1), Brazil (1-1), Puerto Rico (0-2).
Pool B Cuba (2-0), Dominican Republic (2-0), México (0-2), Venezuela (0-2)
Wednesday’s matches: USA vs Canada, Cuba vs Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico vs Brazil, México vs Venezuela.