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Eight teams to square off in NORCECA Women’s Continental

USA has won three of the last four NORCECA Tournaments
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, September 17, 2009 – Eight teams will be competing in the biennial NORCECA Women’s Continental Tournament for regional bragging rights and the single ticket available to the FIVB World Grand Champions Cup in Japan in November.

The event will take place at Ruben Rodriguez Coliseum of Bayamon, Puerto Rico through September 22-27.

World No. 5 and defending champions Cuba will play in Pool A alongside World No. 2 USA, Mexico (26th) and Costa Rica (30th). Hosts Puerto Rico (18th), Dominican Republic (14th), Canada (23rd) and Trinidad & Tobago (53rd) comprise Pool B.

Cuba has won 13 of the 20 editions of the competition but USA, winner of five titles, has emerged as the main powerhouse of the continental event, claiming three of the past four championships. Mexico won the first two tournaments.

The pool play runs through September 22-24 with the winner of each group advancing directly to the semifinal round. The second and third place teams then will play crossed matches in the quarterfinals (September 25).

Four matches are scheduled to start at 14:00 (local time) daily, with Puerto Rico always playing from 20:00. All of Puerto Rico’s matches and those for the medals will be broadcast nationally by TeleSports Channel 13. Matches can be seen “on demand” via

Pool A

Cuba, winner of the 2007 tournament and runner-up at the previous three events, features Nancy Carrillo and Kenia Carcaces, setters Yanelis Santos and Yusidei Silie, and a new source of power from the tandem of Wilma Salas and Yoana Palacios.

The U.S. roster includes a highly talented group of veteran Olympians, with Danielle Scott-Arruda, Heather Bown, Logan Tom, Nancy Metcalf, Lindsey Berg, Cynthia Barboza and Stacey Sykora. Young guns such as Kristin Richards, Alexis Crimes and Jordan Larson will also make the trip. The Americans finished second in 2007 and were runners-up in the five editions that preceded their threepeat in 2001, 2003 and 2005.

Mexico won the tournament back in 1969 and 1971 but last finished among the top three with third-place finishes in 1979 and 1981.

 Youngsters Marta Revuelta, Cecilia Rios and Xitlali Herrera are joined by veteran Claudia Rodriguez to form the core of the team.

Costa Rica, which defeated México last month to qualify for the 2010 World Championship, strongly relies on siblings Verania and Angela Willis and Karen Cope Charles.

Pool B

The Dominican Republic, third-place finisher in the past four editions and five of the last six, will rely on powerful hitters Bethania de la Cruz and Prisilla Rivera and support from veteran Milagros Cabral. Brenda Castillo is building a solid reputation as libero, while Annerys Vargas and Lisvel Eve are capable defenders at the net.

Playing with the support of the home crowd, Puerto Rico will depend mostly on the offense of Aury Cruz and Sarai Alvarez, while Vilmarie Mojica is a reliable setter. Sheila Ocasio and Alexandra Oquendo provide solid blocking.

Canada’s top guns are Tiffany Dodds and Tammy Mahon but Sherline Holness and Tonya Mokelki are also offensive threats. The last time the North Americans finished on the podium was in 1999, with a third-place finish.

Trinidad & Tobago is a team with enormous raw physical talent, and Krystle Esdelle and Kelly-Anne Billingy are the heavy hitters of the squad.



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