Cuba Coast Past Costa Rica for 7th Place

Sept. 20, 2013, 7:07 p.m. (ET)

OMAHA, Nebraska, September 20, 2013 – Cuba defeated Costa Rica 26-24, 23-25, 25-15, 25-22 on Friday afternoon to finish the 2013 Visit Omaha NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship in seventh place. The tournament concludes on Saturday with three matches determining the top six places.

Cuba, the youngest squad in the nine-team tournament, was led by its youngest player Melisa Vargas who had 18 points. She is one month shy of turning 14 years of age. Jennifer Yanet Alvarez added 15 points and Sulian Matienzo contributed 14 points. Costa Rica was paced by Verania Wills’ 20 points, followed by Paolo Ramirez Vargas’ 12 points.

Cuba’s offense produced a 54-38 advantage in kills to complement margins of 12-9 in aces and 8-6 in blocks.

Cuba ended the tournament with a 2-2 record and consecutive victories, which included a three-set win over St. Lucia on Thursday night. Costa Rica ended the tournament in eighth place with a 0-3 overall record.

Cuba Coach Juan C. Rodriguez: “I’m not 100 percent satisfied ever. There are always things we can improve on and play better. The players are not used to playing for seventh place, so their energy wasn’t at the level we are used to. All the NORCECA Championships are great competitions, especially when the U.S. is the host. They do things at the top level. I was happy with the hospitality.”

Cuba Captain Daymara Lescay: “Thank you for the hospitality. This was a great training tool for all of us to get some experience. We did not play well throughout the match, especially me. On a personal level I was not playing well. But thanks to my teammates, they were able to elevate the level of play and we all came together at the end.”

Costa Rica Coach Horacio Nester: “We were most competitive in the second set. But we didn’t play to the level of Cuba, which came out strong and played well throughout the match. We’re not happy with the place. Eighth place is not what we were hoping for. We will take a lot of experience from here and hopefully use it to improve at the next NORCECA Championship.”

Costa Rica Captain Angela Willis Lindo: “We have lost all our games so we were hoping this game we could do better. We didn’t do that badly, but we made a lot of mistakes and that’s what we have to minimize. Just coming and participating in these tournaments is a great experience. Thank you to Omaha and USA Volleyball for your hospitality.”

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