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Both U.S. and Puerto Rico look to improve

Puerto Rico setter Angel Rivera (7) gets a group hug from his teammates after a great play during their World League match against the United States.

Long Beach, California, July 1, 2011 – The United States just needs to beat Puerto Rico one more time to advance to the FIVB World League Final Round. But Puerto Rico showed on Friday that it was not just going to roll over and let the U.S. have its trip.

Puerto Rico picked up its first point of the 2011 World League in its 3-2 loss to the United States, and it is hoping to do more damage when the teams play again on Saturday at the Walter Pyramid on the campus of Long Beach State University.

But Puerto Rico coach Carlos Cardona said he may have to make adjustments to his lineup on Saturday.

“We’ll see how the guys feel tomorrow,” he said. “We have some players suffering injuries. It is possible we will make changes.”

Cardona substituted opposite Steven Morales for Hector Soto in the fourth set on Friday. Soto had been the team’s leading scorer, but struggled on Friday.

The U.S. has consistently played better on the second night of each of its World League weekends this year, and coach Alan Knipe does not expect Saturday to be an exception.

“Once you get a match under your belt, I think the guys feel more confident in this environment,” Knipe said. “I expect both teams to play better tomorrow.”

The U.S. will be looking to make fewer serving errors while continuing to block well.

  

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