NORCECA Women’s Pan American Cup
- July 8-14, 2018
- Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
- Pool B: Cuba, Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago, USA
Five setters were the story of the day in Pool B on Monday as both Trinidad & Tobago and the United States rallied to force tiebreak sets, but neither could finish the comeback, falling to Puerto Rico and Cuba respectively.
Puerto Rico def. Trinidad & Tobago 3-2 (30-28, 25-20, 21-25, 26-28, 15-8)
In the third highest scoring match in women’s Pan American Cup history, Puerto Rico and Trinidad & Tobago racked up 226 points. The tally ranks behind:
- 235 (Dominican Republic def. Puerto Rico 34-36, 22-25, 25-23, 25-21, 15-9) – July 3, 2009
- 227 (Cuba def. Dominican Republic 31-29, 23-25, 25-19, 23-25, 15-12) – June 20, 2010
- Ties 226 (Cuba def. Puerto Rico 25-19, 23-25, 29-27, 23-25, 16-14) – June 19, 2015
Trinidad & Tobago had a 24-21 lead in Set 1, but could not hold on. After falling behind 2-0, the team rallied to force a tiebreak with wins of 25-21 and 28-26.
“I am happy with the match against Puerto Rico because they really know how to play the game,” T&T coach Francisco Cruz said. “My players step by step are adjusting and following the instructions. The experience of Puerto Rico was the difference in the tie-breaker.”
Forty-two errors cost Trinidad & Tobago the match, taking away its 22-10 lead in blocks. Puerto Rico committed 27 miscues, but also boasted the lead in kills (58-56) and aces (7-4).
“Trinidad & Tobago deserved the win as they played better than us,” Puerto Rican coach Javier Gaspar said. “They improved their serve and had a big wall. In the fifth set we were able to control the emotions better than them.”
Noami Santos led the way for Puerto Rico with 20 points (14 kills, 5 aces, 1 block), while Shirley Ferrer also added 14 putaways as part of her 15 point tally. Pilar Marie Victoria (11) and Neira Ortiz (10) followed with nine kills apiece. Raymariely Santos put up a team-best three blocks.
Krystle Esdelle was the top scorer in the match with 23 points on 21 kills, a block and an ace. Channon Thompson chipped in 19 points on 16 kills, two blocks and an ace. Sinead Jack (14) and Jalicia Ross (13) followed with each leading the team’s blocking front with six and seven stuffs respectively to go with six kills apiece.
Cuba def. United States 3-2 (18-25, 25-22, 25-23, 13-25, 15-13)
The Americans outscored the Cubans 108-96, but wound up on the short end of the score in tiebreak, suffering their first loss of the tournament.
Thirty-two errors plagued the United States, which bested Cuba in kills (61-42) and blocks (14-12). The Cubans made just 24 errors and held a slight 10-9 edge in aces.
Regla Rainierys Gracaia Gonzalez, Dairis Perez Ramos and Sulian Matienzo turned in 15 points apiece to pace Cuba. Regla downed a match-leading 15 kills, while Maitenzo and Ramos chipped in five aces apiece. Matienzo also added nine putaways and Ramos turned in eight. Yamila Hernandez Santas put up a team-high four blocks.
Simone Lee scored a match-high 18 points for the Americans with 15 kills, two blocks and an ace. Aiyana Abukusumo-Whitney (17), Haleigh Washington (16), Adora Anae (14) and Chiaka Ogbogu (10) also posted double-digit scoring efforts. Anae tacked on 14 kills, while Abukusumo-Whitney added 13. Washington notched a team-best four blocks and four aces to go with eight kills, while Ogbogu also aided the team’s net defense with four stuffs to go with five putaway and an ace.
The USA went up 11-5 in Set 1, but Cuba rallied to knot the score at 16 before carrying the momentum to a 25-22 win.
Ogbogu, Anae and Washington lifted the Americans to an 11-6 lead in Set 2. Cuba sliced a six-point deficit (14-8) to zero, knotting the score at 16-all with help from two aces. A Lee kill and Whitney block put the United States ahead 20-18, but Cuba responded with five points in a row to claim a 23-20 edge. The USA pulled within one at 23-22, but fell 25-22.
In Set 3, the Americans jumped out to a 4-0 lead only to succumb to the Cubans in the end. Team USA led 20-18, but Cuba stole the advantage with a 4-0 run before finishing off the 25-23 victory.
Set 4 again saw the United States take control early at 5-1, but this time, the Americans held on, cruising to a 25-13 win.
The USA pushed out to a 6-2 lead in the tiebreak, but Cuba erased the deficit, tying it at 7-all. Down 13-11, the Cubans dug deep and scored four straight to take the set and the match.