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Puerto Rico end WGP campaign with stunning win over Germany


Puerto Rico celebrate their fifth set victory over Germany, a positive end to their WGP campaign

Bangkok, Thailand, August 18, 2013 – Gallant Puerto Rico ended their FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix campaign on a positive note after beating world No. 8 Germany in a hard-fought five-set thriller (25-23 25-23 23-25 13-25 15-13) in Pool L at the Hua Mark Indoor Stadium on Sunday.

Both teams already failed to make the cut for the Finals in Sapporo. In this match, Karina Ocasio led Puerto Rico with 28 points including 24 attack hits out of 53 attempts. She also led in the blocking category with four points. Anja Brandt scored a match-high 16 points for Germany.

To allow their players valuable experience, Germany fielded several substitutions including Kathleen Welib, Berit Kauffeldt, Saskia Hippe and Jennifer Geerties in the first set. Puerto Rico got off to a superb start, with powerful attacker Karina Ocasio and Yarimar Rosa puncturing the German defence with their explosive spikes. The Puerto Ricans raced to a 13-7 lead. To revive their fortunes in this tough set against their rivals, Germany fielded in highly-experienced captain Margareta Kozuch. However, their attempts were in vain when the Puerto Ricans continued their remarkable run to move ahead 24-19. The Germans gradually pulled their game to score straight four points to narrow the gap 23-2 until a fast attack from Sheila Ocasio handed Puerto Rico the first set win 25-23.

In the second set, Puerto Rico remained in strong form to lead Germany all the way. Trailing 13-16, the Germans heightened their defence and stormed back with Kozuch’s lightning-fast spikes and solid blocks to tie 18-18. From then, both sides gave it all-out. Puerto Rico still played cool under pressure to win the second set 25-23.

Conceding straight two sets, Germany fielded a strong line-up in the third set, among them were Christiane Furst, Maren Brinker and Denise Hanke. However, Puerto Rico played exceptionally well defensively and offensively to take the commanding 18-14 lead. Germany fought hard to even the score 23-23 and went on to take the close set 25-23.

In the fourth set, Germany attacked well to lead initially 16-9, mostly from the offensive mobility of Kozuch and the team’s effective blocks. They charged through to win the set and force a tiebreaker 25-13.

As Puerto Rico dictated the tempo, Germany gave another all-out performance in the thrilling decider to force another run. However, their intention was short-lived when the Puerto Ricans remained in incredible form to win the set 15-13 and the exhausting battle.

The hard-fought victory helped Puerto Rico break the jinx in this year’s World Grand Prix as it was the first and last win in the tournament.

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