Costa Rica Tops Netherlands Antilles

July 07, 2009, 6:48 p.m. (ET)

Bill Kauffman
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: 719-228-6800

ORLANDO, Fla. (July 7, 2009) – Costa Rica defeated Netherlands Antilles 25-16, 25-9, 25-23 on Tuesday evening to improve to 2-0 in the FIVB World Championship NORCECA Pool G being held at UCF Arena in Orlando.

Verania Willis notched a match-high 19 points with 14 kills, four aces and a block for Costa Rica. Sister Angela Willis chipped in 10 points in the victory, followed by Mariela Quesada’s nine points.

Christine Anthony paced Netherlands Antilles with 13 points, while teammate Samira Luis added five points off the bench.

Costa Rica began set one with a 9-1 lead and cruised to an easy 25-16 victory. Costa Rica started the middle set strong with an 8-2 lead at the first technical timeout and pushed out to a 25-9 victory. Netherlands Antilles came alive in the third set taking a 7-1 lead. Costa Rica battled back to tie the set at 18-all and took its first lead at 19-18. Costa Rica gained match point at 24-20 on a 6-2 run, but Netherlands Antilles saved three match points before losing 25-23.

“It was a good game,” Costa Rica Head Coach Henry Rodriguez said. “We had good tactics in the first and second sets and controlled their best player, No. 7 (Christine Anthony). In the third set, Netherlands Antilles came out with a strong attack and our reception was not as good. In the end, we were able to maintain control to win the set. I want to commend Netherlands Antilles for its very good defense.”

“Congratulations to Netherlands Antilles,” Verania Willis, captain of Costa Rica, said. “A team has to start strong and finish strong. We started strong, but did not end strong and did not have consistency in the match.”

“Comparing the match today to yesterday’s match, we made a big change,” Netherlands Antilles Head coach Patricio Bridgewater said. “Our back court was solid. However, we started slowly. If we had started the match as we did in the third set, maybe things would have turned out differently. But I am not taking anything away from the accomplishments of Costa Rica and I want to congratulate them.”

“We did not have any enthusiasm at the beginning,” Netherlands Antilles captain Eunice Goeloe said. “We have to start strong. The outcome may have been different, maybe five sets, if we played like we did in the third set.”

The victory puts Costa Rica in prime position for a showdown with the United States on Wednesday evening at 7:30 p.m. ET to determine NORCECA Pool G’s winner and direct entrant into the FIVB World Championship being played in November 2010 in Japan. USA, currently 1-0 in the tournament, faces Barbados The second-place team advances to the four-team NORCECA Playoff Round that will fill two additional World Championship vacancies.

“We have a lot of things to work on, and we are tired coming from another tournament before this,” Willis said. “We need to work more on the mental part, not so much the physical part to make a last push in the tournament. We need to relax with each point and make less errors.”