Mexico defeats Argentina in close encounter


YOKOHAMA, Japan, September 30, 2018 - Samantha Bricio was the difference as Mexico edged Argentina 3-0 (25-20, 25-23, 25-23) in a closely-fought encounter in the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship on Sunday, scoring 21 points - including five aces - to deliver Ricardo Naranjo’s side their first win in Pool A at this year’s competition.


Bricio notched the most points for Mexico but 16-year-old Melanie Parra was the star of the show, putting up 18 points, 17 of which came from spikes.


Despite going down in straight sets Argentina were within touching distance throughout, and Julieta Constanza Lazcano and Josefina Fernandez posted their biggest scoring threats as they registered 10 points apiece.


Both teams had lost their opening games in Yokohama, Mexico falling to a surprise 3-1 reverse against Cameroon and Argentina defeated 3-0 by hosts Japan, and had the chance to pick up rare victories on this stage. Mexico had lost each of their last 16 matches at the World Championship - a run stretching back to a 3-2 triumph over West Germany in 1982 - while Argentina had won just one of their last nine games, 3-0 against Tunisia in their final game of the 2014 championship.


In Sapporo, Bulgaria breezed past Cuba 3-0 (25-10, 25-20, 25-14) at Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center on Sunday. It was Bulgaria’s first win of the tournament after losing their opening match 3-0 to Italy on Saturday. Cuba, who lost 3-0 to China in their opener, dropped to 0-2.


Bulgaria were led once again by Gergana and Nasya Dimitrova, who both included a pair of aces in their respective 11 points. Diaris Perez had an impressive day in attack for Cuba, matching the point totals of the two leading Bulgarians. Ailama Cese, equally impressive in attack, picked up Cuba’s only service point and scored nine points in total on the day.


The difference in blocking points was indicative of the way the game went, with Bulgaria taking 11 points to Cuba’s two. Equally significant, Bulgaria claimed nine aces to Cuba’s one. Cuba committed 22 errors against seven for Bulgaria.