Guatemala takes another step towards AFECAVOL title

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador, November 14, 2018.- Guatemala took another step towards the twentieth Men’s AFECAVOL Central American title after defeating Nicaragua 3-0 (25-14, 25-12, 27-25) on Wednesday at FESAVOL gymnasium in San Salvador, El Salvador.

Defending champion Guatemala remains unbeaten with 4-0 record and perfect 20 points, while Nicaragua evens their record 2-2 and has 8 points.

Guatemala took comfortable margins in the first two sets, prevailing on kills and blocks, stopping any move by Nicaragua’s attackers. After ending set two and starting set three with line-up variations, Guatemala didn’t have an easy victory with a spectacular comeback by Nicaragua who led from point 10 up to point 23 and missing two set points (24-23, 25-24).

Guatemala held 28-23 advantage in attacks and 5-3 in the blocking category, while both teams scored on 4 service points. It was Nicaragua’s huge margin errors (40-21) that made an impact on the final result.

Just opposite Andy Leonardo of Guatemala ended with double figures scoring 12 points; outside hitter Carlos Lopez contributed in the victory win 8 points. Outside hitter Jonny Zeledon led Nicaragua with 9 points, followed by Tito Valdivia and Byron Hernandez who chipped in with 7 points apiece.

On Thursday, Guatemala (4-0) plays against Panama (1-2) and Nicaragua (2-2) faces the host El Salvador (1-2).

Captain Carlos Lopez of Guatemala said they committed too much errors in the third set “we lost the rhythm we had in the first two sets; I believe our experience as a group made the difference. We must adjust some things so this won’t happen again; we hope to finish the tournament well”.

Outside hitter Tito Valdivia of Nicaragua indicated “the third set slipped out of our hands, we lost concentration, we thought we had already finished. Guatemala adjusted their blocking and we failed”.

Assistant coach of Guatemala Luis Fernando Castañeda expressed “the team remains unbeaten in record and in sets; there are several teams that wish to win at least one set to us, but our team effort, our individual and group game level make a difference. We had difficulties in sets three, but my players have persistent to find solutions; we still have two more matches ahead and we mustn’t slow down”.

Osman Hernández coach of Nicaragua said “one error, lack of experience or nerves of our setter, Guatemala benefited from his decision; that was our opportunity because their strongest player (Andy) was in the back row, but he has to learn. We have a very important match tomorrow”.