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Puerto Rico punch ticket to Czech Republic

Puerto Rico's players went into a wild celebration following the victory over Cuba that earned them a ticket to FIVB Women's U20 World Championship in Brno, the Czech Republic

Havana, Cuba, March 20, 2013 - Puerto Rico clinched the last vacancy of NORCECA-South America to the FIVB Women’s U20 World Championship in the Czech Republic by defeating Cuba in straight sets (25-23, 25-19, 25-18) to conclude as leader of Pool B at the U-20 Pan American Cup on Wednesday.

The winners held a big margin in the blocking stats 12-5 with Paola Rojas compiling seven of her nine points via blocks. Puerto Rico was also slightly better in service winners 5-3.

Carlos J. Cruz, the Puerto Rican young debutant coach, could not hide his extreme joy for the success.

"We came here on a mission and fulfill it,” Cruz said “We ran our block and defense plan and controlled Cuba's offense and their attacking trends. Now we will continue with the same respect for all my rivals."

The winning captain Daly Santana, who finished with a match-high 14 points, had plenty to celebrate along with their joyful teammates. “We achieved the main goal, but we continue to compete.”

Pool A of the U-20 Pan American Cup featured teams - Colombia, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Peru - who had already qualified for the
FIVB U20 Women’s Volleyball World Championship prior to the tournament, while Pool B grouped together the teams who hadn't, putting on offer one ticket to Brno to the Pool B winner regardless of the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals.

In the quarterfinals on Thursday, Puerto Rico face Peru and Cuba take on Colombia, teams that finished third and fourth in Pool A. Mexico and the Dominican Republic, the first and second of Pool A, qualified directly to the semifinals.

Dominican Republic 3, Colombia 1
Dominican Republic scored its second win by defeating Colombia 3-1 (25-10, 20-25, 25-17, 25-23) to secure a place in the semifinals. The Dominicans won with excellent blocking and making the most out of the erratic serves of their opponents. Pamela Soriano and Brayelín Martinez topped the winners with 17 and 14 points respectively while Colombian Danna Escobar (18) was the best scorer of the match, followed by her teammates Maria Martinez (15) and Diana Arrechea (14).

Chile 3, Costa Rica 0
Chile beat Costa Rica in straight sets (25-15, 25-16, 25-12) to secure third place in Pool B. The South Americans had few problems to beat the Central Americans, who by the own words of coach Eladio Vargas arrived to the event with only six weeks of preparation. Chileans Catalina Melo (16) and Lucia Lozano (15) were the leading scorers of the match and the only to reach double figures. Costa Rican Tannia Pamerla Carazo had 9.

Mexico 3, Peru 0
Mexico defeated Peru in three sets (25-18, 25-12, 28-26) and advanced undefeated to the semifinals as leader of Pool A. In their third victory the Mexicans dominated in all departments to beat the Peruvians in attack, block and service. Mexican Alejandra Isiordia led with 22 points to maintain her good performance throughout the preliminary round, while teammate Lisbeth Sainz contributed 10. Peruvian Angela Leyva led her side with 10 tallies.

Puerto Rico 3, Cuba 0
Puerto Rico defeated Cuba in straight sets (25-23, 25-19, 25-18) to conclude as leader of Pool B with a 3-0 win-loss record.  It was a smooth victory for the Puerto Ricans where Daly Santana excelled with 14 points while the Cuban Sulian Matienzo had 12, the only players with double figures. Paola Rojas and Ana Jusino each contributed 9 points for Puerto Rico and Pilar Victoria added eight.



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