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Puerto Rico and Canada complete NORCECA semifinalists

 
Puerto Rico's Karina Ocasio spikes past Mexico's blocking for one of her 12 points on Thursday at Ralston Arena
Omaha, Nebraska, September 19, 2013 – Puerto Rico and Canada earned spots into the semifinals of the 2013 Visit Omaha NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship following victories over Mexico and Trinidad & Tobago, respectively.

In Thursday’s quarterfinals, Puerto Rico defeated Mexico 25-16, 25-22, 25-19 while Canada saw off Trinidad & Tobago 27-25, 25-11, 25-22 at Ralston Arena.

Puerto Rico will challenge Dominican Republic, which won Pool A and advanced directly to the semifinals. Canada will meet defending champion and host United States, which won Pool B. Mexico will play Trinidad & Tobago in the fifth-place match on Saturday.

“To beat the Dominican Republic we need to find that big game that we’ve been looking for,” Puerto Rico’s coach Jose Mieles said. “We need to play with heart and with passion.”

“It’s the first time in a long time that Canada has qualified for the semifinals of a big tournament,” Canada´s coach Arnd Ludwig said. “Playing the United States is going to be a learning experience.”

Puerto Rico 3, Mexico 0
Puerto Rico earned a spot into Friday’s semifinals following its 25-16, 25-22, 25-19 quarterfinal victory over Mexico on Thursday. Aurea Cruz sparked Puerto Rico with 15 points and teammate Karina Ocasio added 12 points. Mexico was paced by Andrea Rangel’s eight points. Puerto Rico out-served Mexico 7-3 in aces and held a slim 4-2 margin in blocks. The winners also built a 39-28 advantage in kills.

Canada 3, Trinidad & Tobago 0
Canada advanced to the semifinals by defeating Trinidad & Tobago 27-25, 25-11, 25-22. Canada had 10 players score at least one point led by Tabitha Love’s 11 points. Trinidad & Tobago was paced by Darlene Ramdin’s 13 points and Channon Thompson’s 10 points. Although Trinidad & Tobago held a 33-24 advantage in kills, they committed 39 errors in the three-set match. Canada held a 9-6 margin in blocks and both teams hat five aces.

Cuba 3, St Mucia
Cuba won its first match of the championship by defeating St. Lucia 25-16, 25-15, 25-6. Cuba, which has won the NORCECA Championship a record 13 times but has the youngest team in this year nine-team field, will play Costa Rica on Friday in the seventh-place match. St. Lucia, playing in its first-ever NORCECA Championship, concludes the tournament in ninth place. Cuba was led by Melissa Vargas, the youngest player in the tournament who is one month shy of her 14th birthday. She scored 17 points and was matched by Alena Rojas’ 17 points. St. Lucia was paced by Dania Hamilton paced St. Lucia with five points. Cuba’s net defense produced a 13-0 block advantage. The Cubans also enjoyed a 14-3 margin in aces and 34-16 edge in kills.





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