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USA and Dominican Republic in semis at NORCECA U18

 
Dominican Republic advanced to the semifinals at the NORCECA Girls' U18 with a solid victory over Puerto Rico on Thursday
San Jose, Costa Rica, June 27, 2014 – Six-time defending champions United States and Dominican Republic booked direct tickets to the semifinal round of the NORCECA Girls’ U18 Continental Championship at Gimnasio Nacional of San Jose on Thursday.

The USA side scored a straight-set (25-20, 25-17, 25-19) victory over Mexico to claim top place in Pool B while the Dominican squad dispatched Puerto Rico also in three sets (25-21, 25-19, 25-18) to finish atop of Pool C.

In the other match on Thursday, Costa Rica defeated Guatemala 3-1 (25-19, 25-23, 20-25, 25-13) to win Pool A, but will have to play in the quarterfinals against the second placed teams as the lowest ranked pool winners.

In Friday’s quarterfinals, Puerto Rico meets Guatemala and Mexico plays Costa Rica. Honduras faces St Lucia in the eliminatory for the 7-9 positions.

United States 3, Mexico 0
The Americans erased a three-point difference in the close first set to take control of the match. United States held advantages of 33-17 advantage in spikes, 10-3 in the blocking category and 3-2 in serves. Captain Kathryn Plummer topped USA’s offense with 11 points, including three blocks, joined by Milan Stokes also with 11 points while Morgyn Greer contributed 9 points. Mexico’s Sirenia Gomez finished with 6 points.

Dominican Republic 3, Puerto Rico 0
It was another strong performance by the Dominican Republic squad neutralizing Puerto Rico’s attacks. Both teams displayed of talented young players who battled strongly all the way. Dominicans were better in attacks 36-26 while Puerto Rico slightly topped the blocking category 9-8. The winners took advantage of Puerto Rico’s 28 errors, with 21 on their side. Natalia Martinez with 13 points, all kills, was Dominican best scorer, followed by Massiel Matos with 11 points; Vielka Peralta and Rosario Martinez each added 9. Puerto Rico’s top scorers were Paola Salas and Alejandra Negron with 10 points apiece.

Costa Rica 3, Guatemala 1
Costa Rica suffered the loss of setter Fernanda Paredes due to a minor injury at the beginning of third set which Guatemala took advantage of to extend the match to four sets. Costa Rica closed strong with wide open fourth set. The hosts won the Central American classic with advantages in spikes 38-32, blocks 6-3 and serves 8-3. Tamara Espinoza led Costa Rica with 16 points and Joselyne Linares added 13 points, including 3 blocks and 3 aces. Outside hitter Maria Alarcon with 9 points was Guatemala’s top scorer. 


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