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Guatemala serves Costa Rica their first loss at Men’s AFECAVOL

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador, November 13, 2018.- Guatemala served Costa Rica their first loss 3-0 (25-18. 25-12, 27-25) on day four at the Men’s AFECAVOL Central American Championship held at FESAVOL Gymnasium in San Salvador, El Salvador.

Defending champion Guatemala stands undefeated 3-0 with fifteen ranking points and Costa Rica has a 3-1 record, remaining with fifteen points.

Guatemala’s strength in attacks and directed serves left Costa Rica limited to make a recovery and counterattack using all their players in the first two sets; also, Guatemala benefited from Costa Rica’s numerous failed serves.

Costa Rica found a better rhythm after that match had to be suspended (17 minutes) in the third set due to a black out in San Salvador; they pushed hard against Guatemala that lost three match points (24-21) before a close 27-25 finish.

Guatemala topped Costa Rica 34-25 in attacks and 3-2 in blocks; both scored 6 points on serves. Guatemala scored 34 points on Costa Rican errors, while committing 22 errors of their own.

Opposite Andy Leonardo of Guatemala led all scorers with 20 points on 15 kills, 2 blocks and 3 serves; outside hitters Carlos Lopez and Wagner Chacon contributed with 7 points apiece. Opposite Ricky Vargas led Costa Rica with 9 points and outside hitter Alberto Blanco tallied 8 points.

On Wednesday, Guatemala (3-0) faces Nicaragua (1-1) and Costa Rica (3-1) meets host El Salvador (1-1).

Setter Gerardo González of Guatemala said that they failed too many serves in the third set “compared to the first two sets, we had already failed 6 serves before the black out, Costa Rica played much better, we extended the set further than 25, but we stayed calm. We lost concentration but we finished in three sets. We hope continue on winning and hopefully in three sets as well”.

Captain Alberto Blanco of Costa Rica said “this is our first tournament together and Guatemala has a lot of international experience, we really had difficulties to receive their serves. We were able to make more effective plays in the last set, but we had a tiny error that didn’t allow us to go further, we are happy the way we finished. We felt frustrated in the first two errors because of our numerous errors; we know we are capable of doing better like we did in the end. We haven’t the prepared as we should have the entire year and it showed, we were tired against such a powerful opponent like Guatemala”.

Guatemala’s assistant coach Luis Fernando Castañeda indicated his team got relaxed in the third set “the guys had cold head to overcome the inconveniences, Costa Rica took advantage really well; they were able to re organize but my team worked well to keep our unbeaten mark”.

 “We must admit that Guatemala’s process is superior to ours” said coach Alberto Blanco Sanchez. “We have many talented players but as a team they still don’t work as a team like Guatemala and that’s why we had up and downs; we played well the third set. I believe if the young players of the second set, a new generation, continue to work for two years and I stay, we can beat Guatemala”.