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Mexico edge Cuba in NORCECA Women’s tournament

Mexico upset Cuba in the third and final match of Day Two at the NORCECA Women's Continental Championship
Omaha, Nebraska, September 17, 2013 – Trinidad & Tobago, Canada and Mexico scored victories Tuesday on the second day of the Visit Omaha NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship being held at Ralston Arena.

Trinidad & Tobago defeated Costa Rica 25-14, 22-25, 21-25, 27-25, 15-13 to open the day, followed by Canada stopping St. Lucia 25-14, 25-9, 25-14. In the last match of the day, Mexico held off Cuba 25-18, 25-23, 23-25, 21-25, 18-16 in a battle of the two youngest teams in the nine-team field.

The third and final day of pool play has Dominican Republic (1-0, 5 points) playing Trinidad & Tobago (1-0, 3 points), Puerto Rico (1-0, 5 points) challenging Canada (1-0, 5 points) and United States (1-0, 5 points) hosting Cuba (0-1, 2 points). 

The top two group winners advance directly to Friday’s semifinals while the third-best pool winner and the three second-place finishers play in the quarterfinal matches on Thursday. The three third-place teams will play for 7-9 positions on Thursday and Friday.

The tournament winner, crowned on Saturday, earns a trip to the season-ending FIVB Grand Champions Cup in Nagoya and Tokyo in Japan in November. The six team field includes the winner from each continental championship plus host Japan.

“We said no more joking around,” Trinidad & Tobago captain Krystle Esdelle said regarding heading into the fifth set against Costa Rica. “We have to get this set. We are there, let’s take it home.”

“We were a little nervous the whole game, especially the younger players,” Canada head coach Arnd Ludwig said. “I think we’ve put that behind us in this first game and now we’re looking forward to the next match. I think our block is usually a little better. We did a few things with the block that I didn’t like. I think our serving and attack can improve a little as well.”

“It was a hard-fought battle,” Mexico captain Dulce Carranza said following her team’s five-set win over Cuba. “The match had a lot of ups and downs. The key to the victory was the adjustments we had to make because we got too comfortable in the middle so we had to make the adjustments in order to pull out the win. It started with the service and the blocking also helped to get the victory.”

Trinidad & Tobago 3, Costa Rica 2
Trinidad & Tobago edged Costa Rica 25-14, 22-25, 21-25, 27-25, 15-13 to pick up three points in the standings. Playing its first match, Trinidad & Tobago had balanced scoring with five players reach double-digit scoring led by Sinead Jack with 18 points. Trinidad & Tobago captain Krystle Esdelle and Darlene Ramdin each pocketed 16 points. Costa Rica, which concludes the three-team Pool A with a 0-2 record and two points, was led by Verania Willis’ 17 points. Her sister and captain Angela Willis Lindo added 15 points, followed by Paola Ramirez’s 13 points.  In the tiebreaking fifth set, Trinidad & Tobago led 8-3 before Costa Rica stormed back to tie the set at 8-all. However, Trinidad & Tobago held on for a 15-13 victory with the final two points of the sets capped by an Estelle kill. Trinidad & Tobago held sizeable margins in blocks (19-9) and kills (62-50), while Costa Rica dominated from the service nine with an 8-4 ace advantage and benefited from 35 Trinidad & Tobago errors.

Canada 3, St. Lucia 0
Canada defeated St. Lucia 25-14, 25-9, 25-14 in its first match of Pool C. Canada was sparked by Jaimie Thibeault and her 14 points. All but the Canadian libero, Janie Guimond, scored at least two points in the match. Natalie Edward scored six points to pace St. Lucia and teammates Lisa Casmine and Dania added five points each. St. Lucia, playing in its first-ever NORCECA Championship, concludes Pool B with a 0-2 record and zero points. Canada produced a 44-20 margin in kills and 9-2 advantage in aces against St. Lucia.

Mexico 3, Cuba 2
Mexico ended the second day by holding off a surging Cuba 25-18, 25-23, 23-25, 21-25, 18-16. Andrea Rangel sparked Mexico with 28 points, while teammate Lizbeth Sainz chipped in 20 points. Melissa Vargas, the youngest player in the tournament at a month shy of her 14th birthday, led Cuba with 19 points, while captain Daymara Lescay added 16 points and Caridad Matienzo Sulian tallied 15 points. The two teams are the youngest by average age among the nine-team tournament. Cuba’s average age is 19.7, while Mexico’s team averages 21.1 years old. Cuba battled from two sets down and trailing in the third set 17-13 before picking up momentum to win the next two sets to force a tiebreaker. Cuba held two match points in the fifth set, but Mexico held off both chances and captured the match on its second match-point opportunity.  Mexico held slim margins in all three scoring categories of kills (64-61), blocks (10-7) and aces (6-4). 


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