Costa Rica wins gold, Belize claims silver

BELIZE CITY, August 8, 2018 - Belize won the silver medal at the 20th Central American women’s volleyball championships, by their fourth consecutive victory: 3-2 over Guatemala (25-23, 23-25, 20- 25, 25-23, 15-13) in the final match on Wednesday night at the new Civic Center in Belize City.

The host team finished in a tie with Costa Rica with 4-1 win-loss record and 18 points so the title was decided by points-ratio with the Costa Ricans getting the edge 1.271 to 1.171 by the girls from Belize.

 The hosts dominated the first set, led by outside hitter Sherika Burton, who scored 20 points, including 19 spikes, a block and serving an ace. The visitors did not flinch, as the opposite María García led their counterattack with 25 puntos, including 23 kills, a block and an ace to win the second set: 25-23.

The Guatemalan offensive was on the rise as middle blocker Astrid González scored 15 points: 12 spikes and 3 blocks. Outside hitter Martha Guillermo scored 10 points: 8 spikes, 1 block and an ace to win the third set: 25-20.

The visitors now looked to close it off in the fourth set, but they counted without opposite Shantel Arnold, who led the Belize defense, scoring 16 points: 12 spikes and 4 blocks. Belice had two more players in double digits: middle blocker Tichelle Solis scored 11 points: 10 spikes and a block, and outside hitter Nelissa Ramírez also scored 11 points, including 8 spikes, a block and 2 aces, to tie the ball game 2-2 when the hosts won the fourth set: 25-23.

Belize’s teen phenom Fatoumata Camara scored 5 points, and middle blocker Kevanna Sebastian and setter Karen Quan each scored 2 points to seal the fifth set: 15-13.

Belize had the advantage on aces served: 6-2 and gained 40 points by their opponents’ errors, even though they conceded 41 points by unforced errors. Both teams had 6 blocks each, and Guatemala had the advantage on spikes: 60 - 56.

Belize’s coach Esmidio Limonta Muñoz was ecstatic as he declared, “The time for interviews is over, the girls’ victory says it all!”