London 2012

Press release

Cuba and Dominican Republic top their pools

Cuba's Leanny Simon (left) and Yusidey Silie block a spike from Mexico's Alejandra Isiordia in their PoolB on Tuesday

Tijuana, Mexico, May 1, 2012 – Three-time Olympic champions Cuba and world No. 9 Dominican Republic won their respective pools and earned direct tickets to the semifinals of the NORCECA Women’s Continental Olympic Qualification Tournament in Tijuana, Mexico on Tuesday.

The quarterfinal action on Wednesday will feature Puerto Rico take on Costa Rica and Canada play hosts Mexico at the Tijuana Multi-Sports Gymnasium.

Cuba beat Mexico in straight sets (25-17, 25-14, 25-9) and Dominican Republic defeated Puerto Rico 3-1 (22-25, 26-24, 25-19, 25-19) and both teams will have two days of rest before they resume playing on Friday.

Earlier on Tuesday, Canada and Costa Rica scored their first victory which saw the sides both qualify for the quarterfinals by finishing third in their pool.

Canada began the day with an easy 3-0 (25-9, 25-10, 25-8) victory over Honduras while Costa Rica defeated Trinidad and Tobago 3-1 (25-19, 25-22, 15-25, 25-13).

Honduras and Trinidad and Tobago are scheduled to play for seventh place in Friday’s action with both searching for their first wins. Teams will have a rest day on Thursday.

“Finally we started to improve,” Cuba’s Juan Carlos Gala said. “We have reached our goal and we have grown during the tournament as we expected.”

“We have two days to train and study our next opponent and I didn’t start Bethania because she just came from a long season in Japan I want to keep her and everyone fresh,” Dominican Republic coach Marcos Kwiek said.

“We are in the quarterfinals and our goal now is to prepare to play against Mexico,” Canada Coach Arnd Ludwig said.

“We lost the third set because of the qualities of Trinidad and Tobago and not by our mistakes,” Costa Rica coach Xavier Perales lameneted. “We need to continue working game by game in this new process of our team.”

Cuba v Mexico
Cuba disposed of Mexico 3-0 (25-17, 25-14, 25-9) to top Pool B and earn a direct ticket to the semifinals of the NORCECA Women’s Continental Olympic Qualification Tournament. Mexico finished in second place and will play against Canada in the quarterfinals.

Cuba had a huge 13-1 advantage in serving aces and also bested their opponents 8-5 in the blocking stats. Yanelis Santos, who had nine aces, was the top scorer for the victors with 15 points while Wilma Salas and Rosanna Giel each contributed 11 points. Alejandra Isiordia was the only player from Mexico to finish the match in double figures with 11 tallies.

Dominican Republic v Puerto Rico
Dominican Republic earned a direct ticket to the semifinals following a 3-1 (22-25, 26-24, 25-19, 25-19) victory over Puerto Rico to win Pool A. Bethania De La Cruz, who was not included in the starting lineup, once again topped the scores for Dominican Republic with 18 points. Prisilla Rivera and Annerys Vargas finished with 17 and 14 points while Gina Mambru and Milagros Cabral added eight and seven.

Aury Cruz led Puerto Rico with 17 points and Sarai Alvarez recorded 13. Jetzabel Del Valle had nine and Shanon Torregrosa and Yarimar Rosa charted eight apiece. The blocking of Dominican Republic, led by Vargas, proved to be a big difference as they outscored their rivals 15-9.

Canada v Honduras
Canada secured third place in Pool A following a comprehensive straight-sets (25-9, 25-10, 25-8) victory over winless Honduras. The North American side, composed mostly of bench players, outscored their young Central American counterparts both in serving aces (13-1) and in blocks (11-2).

Kyla Richey was the best Canadian scorer with 16 points including two blocks and two aces while Tonya Mokelki served served aces among her 15 points and Marisa Field had six blocks and totalled 14 points.

Costa Rica v Trinidad and Tobago
Costa Rica saw off Trinidad and Tobago 3-1 (25-19, 25-22, 15-25, 25-13) to claim third place in Pool B and a quarterfinal spot. Verania Willis recorded 22 points to lead the offense of the Central American side. She was aided by Angela Willis and Karen Cope who charted 15 and 13 respectively. Krystle Esdelle and Rheeza Grant finished with 14 and 13 for the defeated team. The taller Trinidadians could not capitalize on their 18-11 advantage in the blocking stats, where Jalicia Ross and Grant registered eight and five respectively. Costa Rica had a 4-2 edge in the serving aces frame.

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