Panama and USA to battle for one spot in Italy
Colorado Springs, United States, May 17, 2014 – Panama rallied to defeat Guatemala 3-2 (16-25, 25-16, 18-25, 25-23, 15-11) on Saturday afternoon in a five-set battle that decided which team would advance to the Women’s NORCECA World Championship Qualification Tournament Pool O gold-medal match at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Panama will face host United States in the title match on Sunday. The winner advances to the FIVB World Championship, which begins in September in Italy.
Panama was led by Katherine Taju’s 20 points and Joanna Arroyo added 17 points. Blanca Recinos led Guatemala with 18 points, while Stefany Bolanos matched her total with 18 points. Diana Arias contributed 11 points.
While Panama enjoyed a 14-6 block advantage, Guatemala led in kills (49-44) and aces (8-5).
In the other match of Pool O, the heavily favored United States swept Honduras 25-12, 25-13, 25-16 Saturday afternoon to conclude with a 3-0.
Kylin Munoz led a quartet of United States in double-figure scoring with 16 points. Maddie Martin and Katie Slay added 11 points each, while Kathleen Luft contributed 10 points. Honduras was paced by Lesby Midence with four points.
Honduras had few answers for the U.S. attack as the second-ranked team in the world held a 42-12 advantage in kills. The U.S. also had a 7-3 margin in blocks and a 6-3 edge in aces.