Costa Rica Gains First Win, Defeats Guatemala

June 28, 2009, 4:41 p.m. (ET)

MIAMI, Fla. (June 28, 2009) – Costa Rica earned its first victory of the Eighth Women’s Pan American Cup with a hard-fought 25-16, 25-17, 25-21 victory over Guatemala Sunday evening at the University of Miami’s BankUnited Center.

Costa Rica (1-2) was paced by Verania Willis’ 18 points, while teammate Angela Willis added 13 points in the victory. Onikca Pinnock Gibbons chipped in seven points in the match.

Blanca E. Recinos Ocana led Guatemala (0-3) with 10 points. Rut Beatriz Gomes Guzman contributed six points in the loss, while captain Aneliesse Burmester C. and Silvia C. Herrera Juarez added five points apiece.

Costa Rica held a 7-2 block and service ace advantage in the match to add to a 41-30 margin in kills.

“Today we wanted to concentrate on our service reception and work on improving that,” Verania Willis said. “We knew that Guatemala would provide some good defense in the match.”

“It took a while for us to get started today,” Guatemala Head Coach Julio Dominguez said. “We are a very young team, but improving and building toward the Central American Games in Honduras.”

Costa Rica will look to win its second match with a 5:30 p.m. ET contest against Puerto Rico (2-0, plays Peru later today) on Monday. Guatemala will seek its first victory of the tournament against Mexico (0-2, plays USA later today).