Cuba qualified to semifinals after beating Costa Rica 3-0 (25-22, 25-20, 25-21) at the Women’s NORCECA U20 Championship in Aguascalientes, Mexico.
Cuba joins United States and Dominican Republic in Friday’s semifinals, waiting for either Mexico or Puerto Rico. Costa Rica will face Guatemala in classification 5/8 round.
Cuban players lacked their usual energy, with a dull performance and struggling to move ahead in scores as they committed a variety of unforced errors the entire game. Costa Rica maintained their calm, executing their game plan well, surprising Cuba but still not taking unnecessary risks.
Cuba finished with a huge 40-27 margin in kills and 9-4 in blocks. Costa Rica held 7-6 advantage in aces. Cuba benefited scoring on 20 opponent errors while allowing 25.
Middle blockers Yamisleydis Viltres and Daima Del Rio led Cuba scoring 12 points apiece, wing spiker Ailama Cese added 10 points and setter Thalia Moreno chipped in with 9 points. Middle blocker Susan Alpizar scored 9 points for Costa Rica.
Middle blocker Daima Del Río of Cuba: “We lack attitude, yes we are happy because we are one step further in reaching our objective. We committed too many unforced errors and we really hope to do better tomorrow”.
Regla Torres head coach of Cuba: “I am not satisfied with today’s performance, I did not like it. My team and every Cuban team have better rhythm, a higher level, powerful and with better attitudes. My assistant Marta and I, as former players, can’t inject the girls the desire to execute everything we’ve prepared and practiced. We hope they will understand what’s needed. We are in semifinals but we must play differently”.
Andrés López head coach of Costa Rica: “I am glad despite our loss, but as a group, going back to my Federation, I reached my objective. Today my starters in every set were the tallest players and that helped us against Cuba’s strength over the net. I think that Cuba came in tired from their previous matches that were really tough and we worked them well with our strong serves. Central America doesn’t have this level, so when the match was really close, we miss 3 points, we recover, we even the score and our competitive level is not enough, neither physically nor mentally speaking, there’s nothing left to do. We don’t know how to solve. We could compete better if we had better preparation matches”.
Middle Blocker Susan Alpizar of Costa Rica: “This is our first experience, and playing against the best in the world excites us, we feel motivated because the result was good. I was pressured because I was afraid to commit errors, but our motivation was high and that helped the team, and our attitude was the best”.