NORCECA Pan-American Cup 2017
- June 15-26, 2017
- Canete, Peru
Puerto Rico 3, Columbia 0 (25-20, 25-16, 28-26)
United States 3, Venezuela 0 (25-9, 25-16, 25-11)
Argentina 3, Mexico 1 (25-22, 25-20, 23-25, 25-21)
Puerto Rico, the United States and Argentina were the big winners in Pool A action on Day 1 of the Pan American Cup on Saturday.
On Sunday, the USA will face Columbia, Argentina takes on Venezuela and Puerto Rico faces Mexico.
Puerto Rico 3, Columbia 0
With former Minnesota collegian and Olympian Daly Santana leading the way, Puerto Rico made quick work of Columbia. Santana registered a match-high 20 points, including 15 kills and five aces, while her Puerto Rican team outscored Columbia 78-62. Puerto Rico served up six aces, while allowing just one, but Columbia outblocked them 8-5.
Joining Santana in double-digit scoring was Ana Sofia Jusino (10).
“The girls were a Little bit nervous at the start especially in the reception,” Puerto Rican coach Javier Gaspar said. “I think we did a good job in the blocking, touching a lot of balls and getting the chance of counter attack.”
Maria Margarita Martinez (11) and Giselle Perez (10) led the way for Columbia with double-digit point tallies. Martinez managed 10 kills, while Perez accounted for six kills and a match-high four blocks.
“First match of a tournament is tough especially for a young team as we have three players who are U18,” Columbian coach Antonio Rizola said. “The team started a little nervous. We were not able to keep the level of the attack and Puerto Rico took advantage of their serves. It is a learning process for us and we are doing the job.”
United States 3, Venezuela 0
The United States dominated Venezuela in all facets of Saturday’s sweep, posting 32 kills (to 17), outblocking the foes (13-5), and served up 15 aces, while allowing just two.
Captain Micha Hancock, who played collegiately at Penn State, racked up a match-high 13 points, including 11 aces. Rhamat Alhassan added eight points, including six blocks.
“We are very happy with the result and the victory is the result of a team effort,” Hancock said. “I am grateful of my teammates for their effort on the court.”
Maria Jose Perez Gonzalez put up a team-best seven points for Venezuela, tallying four kills and three blocks. Iriarte Aleoscar Blanco added six points, with four kills and two blocks.
“We know about the supremacy of United States and I think we entered the court a little bit pressed and nervous,” Venezuelan captain Desiree Glod said. “We have a very short period of time training together and we can play better. We are going to improve and reduce the mistakes because we are preparing for the Grand Prix next month at home.”
Argentina 3, Mexico 1
Four Argentinian players posted double-digit point efforts, led by Paula Yamila Nizetich’s 19, which included 17 kills and two blocks, in a four-set win over Mexico. Emilce Sosa (14), Elina Rodriguez (11) and Natalia Aispurua (10) followed. Aispurua managed a match-high four blocks.
“We are coming from playing an international competition and it is not easy to adjust to a new ball,” Sosa said. “Mexico complicated things for us in the third set with their serves, but we came to win and knew how to adjust to score the triumph.”
Andrea Rangel tallied a match-high 25 points, including 22 kills and three aces, for Mexico. Kathya Paulina Garcia Chavez chipped in 12 points, while Patricia Valle added 11, including four aces.
“I think we showed a lot of maturity today and also the work as a team,” Rangel said. “We know we will be improving with every match and that is the goal, to achieve growth, especially for the younger players as we prepare the team for the long term.”
As a team, Argentina outblocked Mexico 13-3, but the Mexican side won the service battle, outdoing Argentina with nine aces to one.