Nicaragua battles to overcome Belize in five sets

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador, November 13, 2018.- Nicaragua battled strong to overcome Belize 3-2 25-14, 25-21, 22-25, 19-25, 15-11) at the twentieth Men’s AFECAVOL Central American Championship being held at FESAVOL Gymnasium in San Salvador, El Salvador.

Nicaragua improved their win-loss record 2-1, for a total of eight ranking points; Belize drops 1-3 with six points.

It was a tough battle for Nicaragua as they won the first set with a comfortable advantage as they kept their game plan. Belize improved in the second, evening the scores on several occasion (9-9, 13-13), but Nicaragua remained organized. Belize finally edged Nicaragua in the third as Francis Hauze joined Karym Coleman on the offense line to recovering from a two point deficit (18-20) in the party of points to extend the actions further. Belize continued to hammer the ball with consistency but Nicaragua found their focus in the fifth set directed by their U-23 players led by Jonny Zeledon.

Nicaragua used a balanced scoring attack with outside hitter Jonny Zeledon scoring 23 points, followed by outside hitter Tito Valdivia with 15 points, and opposite Denis Garcia along with middle blocker Diego Cuadra collecting 13 points apiece. On the Belizean side, opposite Karym Coleman scored a match-high of 28 points and outside hitter Francis Hauze contributed with 24 points.

Nicaragua (2-1) will play against Guatemala (3-0) on Wednesday and Belize (1-3) meets Panama (1-2).

Nicaragua’s captain Alvaro Solís said Belize took advantage of their lack of concentration in the third set “Belize is very strong and made it tough; we couldn’t recover in the third set, our errors are in basic skills and we haven’t shown our best version yet. In the fifth set we kept our rhythm the whole time, we felt superior and the key was a good energy and heart”.

Osman Hernández coach of Nicaragua said Belize is not easy “from the first day we saw their strength, their high jumps and they have more height over the net than we do. Belize benefited from some bad adjustments on our side in the third set. In the fifth set, our U-23 players were in charge because in other occasions they have won many games in five, they are rough and we bet on them”.

Karym Coleman captain of Belize said he was happy for his team to bounce back in the game “we worked hard but we paid a high price for our lack of experience; our opponent played all year around and we just have a minimum time to practice. This is a learning experience and we hope to come back stronger”.